Acknowledging the design of the Christmas jumper creates a shared experience of festive consumerism, allowing the jumper to supersede the material and enter the intangible and quasi-sanctified realm of celebration. This new hyperreality is a joyous state that plain knitwear is simply incapable of rendering.
As a parent of children who are fortunate to live in comfortable circumstances, I don't want to have to cancel Christmas or deprive them of the things they want. I don't want to make them feel guilty for having a better life than the many less fortunate children in the world. At the same time, I do want them to know that not everyone in the world enjoys the same level of comfort and security as they do.
In my view, acquisitiveness is best understood in psychological terms. Our mad materialism is partly a reaction to inner discontent. As human beings' it's normal for us to experience an underlying 'psychological discord', caused by the incessant chattering of our minds, which creates a disturbance inside us, and often triggers negative thoughts.
I'm 59, the eldest of four siblings, but have no partner and no children. A sense of inadequacy grows: what can I leave my nephews and nieces, and their children? I don't mean memories; I mean, what that is tangible and lasting, that I can equitably share among them? It's like feeling a phantom limb, a shadowy disconnect with future generations that I so ache to put right.
We are connected to this world in more ways than imaginable, in the ground and in the air; everything is made up of the basic building blocks of life, carbon, oxygen and nitrogen. Trees are one of these givers of life, and how humans and trees correspond to give each other life is one of the most fundamental, yet essential aspects of ecology that much of the world lets slip from their minds...
As part of Children in Need we are urging all families and communities to dedicate more time to listening and responding to what children naturally want and spend time playing together. This doesn't mean adults watching children play - we want everyone to experience the joy and personal fulfilment that comes from time spent playing and learning together.
Saudi Arabia gets a lot of stick from Muslims in general. Whether religious, social, or economic, one is never hard pressed to find criticisms from believers facing the Meccan direction. And although many criticisms have justified grounds, on the following issue, I would like to stand in Saudi's defence.