As time goes on, I am more and more convinced that we are losing sight of what is important in life. We are crossing the event horizon and are about to be spaghettified forever in a black hole of consumerism and the slide is only accelerating.
Every year, my girlfriend watches the new iteration of the John Lewis Christmas advert and every year she cries. It is perfectly understandable. The creative team behind those ads follow a recipe every year designed to not just to tug our heartstrings, but to play them as hard as an electric violin... which ironically, you can buy online at John Lewis...
One year, we had a bear trying to play the part of the Grinch and failing because well, everyone bought him presents! How beautiful! Another year, a penguin was sad, so he got a partner penguin, which was just another toy penguin that was purchased for a (now delighted) kid.
The point here is that every year, it is the same. A lovely narrative, a well sung cover of a well loved song leading to this climax where something is purchased for someone else and everyone lives happily ever after. Yes, because gifts solve all our problems. Do you see the problem yet? John Lewis spends millions every year to get people to buy products from them at Christmas through toying with their emotions.
I'm not playing that game, especially not this year. I watched the advert and yes it is beautiful in its impracticality and yes it is highlighting an extremely important issue. Each year in Ireland, it is estimated that over a hundred thousand elderly people will spend the festive period alone in their homes; this is a time they grew up loving, celebrating and loving and what is it now? A period of longing, reflection and maybe even sadness?
The John Lewis advert implies that sending a gift from afar will fix this issue. It won't. Plain and simple. Getting involved will. If you are going to do one thing this Christmas, do one of two things, firstly, spend sometime with an older friend, neighbor or relative or make a donation to ALONE today.
After reading that, watch the John Lewis advert again and try to understand what I'm getting at here and how important it is to look past the advert itself and onto the real issue that they are attempting to exploit.
I am Timi