Who hasn’t been guilty of buying themselves presents whilst shopping for others? I, for one, am a repeat offender. The gifts I do buy can, at times have a dual purpose (not all the DVDs I’ve brought people have ever really been in their possession). Treating yourself is a harmless way of self-congratulation; managing to not eat your weight in mince pies is a mean feat. Harvey Nichols is merely encouraging you to spoil yourself and why not? You work hard all year, regardless of what the media might think, therefore you deserve something nice. While I hope I get my family better things than paper clips and elastic bands, I will at the same time buy myself that dress, that will be half price in the sale two weeks later, for my pre-Christmas night out. I believe that it is not Harvey Nichols’s intention to promote selfishness, but instead suggests that you should take care of your own wish list. Let’s face it, it’s not often we can afford what we want for most of the year, so we might as well splurge out at Christmas.
The Harvey Nichols advert is the pinnacle of what Christmas has now become: commercialised and indulgent. Without meaning to sound too clichéd, Christmas is meant to be about giving and spending time with loved ones. Many would go a step further to say that the secularisation of westernised countries has taken Christmas beyond its original purpose, which is the religious celebration of the birth of Jesus. But religious or not, Father Christmas is a caricature of the generous Saint Nicholas after all. The winter months have become one mass of worry, with distressed people calculating as to whether they can afford to purchase presents. So when an advert is aired encouraging people to splash out on themselves, it makes this increasingly worse; in making the ultimatum of spending money on yourself or others, it shows that modern society is moving further away from the traditional spirit of Christmas. Presents do not have to be expensive, and there is a nicer feeling in giving, than receiving, so the familiar saying goes.