Has the true meaning of Christmas been lost?

This year's Christmas was a bit different from all my previous ones.  There were a number of reasons why - the main one being I didn't get to see or speak to my brother.

My brother is at university in America and should have been home for Christmas a couple of weeks ago.  But, after an accident involving his passport and a washing machine, he was unable to come back.

Due to having no internet yet in our new home, I had to speak to him on FaceTime while I was at mum and dad's.  Because of the time difference and Christmas dinner plans, though, I didn't get to see or speak to him properly on Christmas Day.

It's not until someone important isn't there on Christmas Day that you realise that spending time with the people you love is all that Christmas is really about.

It's not about the Michael Kors watches and bags or the new laptops and tablets.  It's not about who can upload the picture of the most impressive haul of presents or who has the most expensive new piece of jewellery. 

It's not about who has the most presents under the tree or who has the best, new designer clothes.

Those things are all lovely, and it's always nice to be spoilt and to be able to spoil people, but Christmas is about more than just material things.

It's about family, friends and love.

Don't get me wrong, I received some lovely presents and felt very lucky as I opened them at various points in the day - but none of that mattered because I wasn't able to share the day with my brother.

I can't help but feel that the true spirit of Christmas is lost these days.  I'm sure I've been guilty of focussing on the materialistic things in the past but it seems more and more people are losing sight of what matters at this time of year.

It's not until you're without someone important for the day that you realise what it is really about.

It's renowned as a time to give presents and, for some, the level of present giving demonstrates the scale of love.

Personally, I love giving presents - I love seeing people's happy faces when they open them.  But presents are just a small part of Christmas and what it's about.

Christmas is the season of goodwill.  It's about showing someone you care and sharing the love with those closest to you.  It's about spending time with family and friends and making new memories while recalling those from Christmases gone by.

It's about sitting down together at the table for Christmas dinner without the interruption of smartphones and technology.  It's about talking and laughing and family and friends.

I felt incredibly lucky this Christmas - I got some lovely, thoughtful presents and was very spoilt.  But those presents weren't why I felt lucky. 

I had a new family to spend part of my day with who made me feel very welcome and loved.  I got to see my mum and dad and spend some of the day with good friends.  Then, we were able to go back to our own home at the end of the day.

The only thing missing from the day was my brother, and all the presents I got meant nothing because I didn't get to see or speak to him.

There was always going to be the first Christmas that I wouldn't see my brother and, while it made me sad, it helped me see what Christmas is all about.

Material things are brilliant but I'd settle for love, family and friends over presents any day.

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