The gift of giving

Sadly, Christmas has become a caricature of itself. For those with deeply held religious views, it is a very spiritual time. For many it is welcomed as a holiday period in which there is a brief respite from work or the office. For others it is a commercial frenzy in which excess is the ultimate goal.

But it seems a lot of younger Australians are rejecting the spend-till-you-drop approach to the festive season.

An online survey of 1000 people by Suncorp Bank has shown that many 18-24 year-olds are refusing to spend on gift-giving this year.

Given that times remain very subdued still in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, that in itself is not so surprising. Australia’s economy is performing very well compared to much of the rest of the world but even so times are tough for most.

The bank says young Ausssies are very much focused on themselves this Christmas and it is estimated that up to one million are not intending to buy gifts for anyone else.

Unfortunately, their approach reflects selfishness rather than any nod to spirutality.

Certainly, a large swag of this age group are either students, unemployed or on low rate casual wages.  Their frugality is understandable.

But many others, it seems, are still living at home and see themselves as children. As such, social commentators tell us, they see themselves as still being gift-receivers rather than gift-givers.  Ya gotta love that. Not!

It is reflective of the sense of entitlement that characterises such large segments of society these days (and this is certainly not confined to young people).

One can only hope that they reflect on the underlying themes of Christmas –regardless of their personal beliefs – and realise that it’s the thought that counts, not the price tag.

Giving is an act of growth that marks a self-actualised person. It does not have to be in any way commercial.

So give generously, folks.  May you be delighted by what you receive in return, even if it is not tangible!