April 2023

Easter Special


Home  >  Features  >  Looking Back: Have you done your Christmas Shopping yet?

Looking Back

Image: archives-piccropped.jpg

Looking Back

From December 1962

Have you done your Christmas Shopping yet?

By Rita Clark


Are you worrying about that Christmas shopping list you wrote out last week? What on earth can you buy for Joan and Tom who ‘have everything’? What should you give Aunt Harriet?

Who began all this Christmas Giving anyway?

Certain Wise Men. They brought gifts!

Much of our so-called giving is mere exchange. I give Peter a book and Wendy a baking set, and their mother gives a jigsaw and a box of sweets to my children.

The Wise Men left their gifts and went quietly on their way. By 1962 standards, Mary should have dashed out and obtained some souvenirs of Bethlehem to give back in return.

The Wise Men BROUGHT their gifts. They could probably have had them delivered by servants or messengers. Their bringing of them, the trouble they took, was the real sacrifice, the real giving.

It is merely expensive to send a bottle of perfume to Aunt Harriet, but it would be costly in time and patience to invite her to spend a few day with us, include her in the family visit to the Pantomime, and listen to all those tales she has told so often in the past.

Costly too, though not in cash, would be the present of the day off to the parents of a young family, the ‘nurse’ in a household with an invalid, or a day out for an invalid.

If we cut out mere exchanges, there will be more to give where it is needed, and there’s always the chance that the ‘exchanges’ will be quite happy to stroke you off their list!

Without cutting out elderly friends or invalids, the list should still have dwindled quite a bit.

Advertisers of all sorts have tried to convince us that we cannot possibly enjoy Christmas without a turkey and countless trimmings, together with mounds of mince pies, enormous rich cakes and so forth. Can we not celebrate Christmas in our own way without feeling that we must have Everything, ‘because it is Christmas’?

One fact remains. The baby in the manger became a refugee. Could we put at the top of the list a donation to help the underfed, the underprivileged and the orphan child?

With so much less shopping to do, who knows. We might even be able to look forward to Christmas!

Looking Back menu

Life and Work is the magazine of the Church of Scotland. Subscribe here.