So effectively have governments, the media and advertisers associated consumption with prosperity and happiness that to say these things is to expose yourself to opprobrium and ridicule.

It is really tough to tell your family and friends - Please don't buy me anything this Christmas - Because it's so ingrained in our culture; because that seems to be the only tangible way for us to show how we care about each other.

It is even harder to choose not to give presents, for Christmas, birthdays, weddings...Because everyone else does; because how else do I show you that I care?
Perhaps it's time for us to be more creative when it comes to love and friendship.

Let's grab a coffee and talk about our dreams and hopes;
let's go for a walk and play the frisbee in the park;
let's bake a cake together and host an afternoon tea;
or let go ourselves in that experimental immersive theatre piece.

Time, is the most precious gift we can give to one another.
Presence, is the present to show how we truly care.

The Gift of Death

Pathological consumption has become so normalised that we scarcely notice it. By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 11th December 2012 There's nothing they need, nothing they don't own already, nothing they even want.

The meaning of Christmas

This year, Simon and I didn’t spend Christmas with our families. Instead, we spent our Christmas Day with over 300 elderly, disabled and homeless folks who would otherwise have spent the Christmas Day alone.As we headed out at the crack of dawn on our bikes, I had no idea what to expect.

It was painful - to witness many of their living conditions as we picked them up.
It was wonderful - to see many of their faces lit up as I approached their doors with a smile.

Most of the time, as I buzzed their door bell, they would immediately know why I was there without me saying a word - That hit me hard, as I realised they had expected no one else visiting them on that Christmas Day.

Throughout the day, I had helped put on so many seat belts - It made me appreciate how inaccessible these simple things are, though we might take them for granted.

I’m so grateful - for these folks who graciously accepted my arms to support them as I clumsily stepped outside my usual bubble.

As we dropped them off at nightfall, I felt unbearable sadness and doubt in the little impact I might’ve had in their lives. To that, they returned with hugs, best wishes and gratitude for me and everyone who had been their families on this one Christmas Day.

Talking to another volunteer - who must’ve been around 19 years old - about why she was there (for the last 4 years), she said:

This is the only way for Christmas to have meaning for me.

Her words stayed with me for a long time, and it was truly inspiring to hear such reflection from a young girl.

As all 400 of us sought meaning on this Christmas Day, our bubbles converged even just for one day. I hope they would know that they had given me as much, if not more on this day.

Note: The charity with which we volunteered was Southwark People Care Association - They organise a Christmas party every year for elderly and disabled residents who would otherwise spend the Christmas Day alone.