As we headed towards the office this Monday morning, all sleepy-eyed and Garfield-tempered, we were welcomed by the sight of snowflakes on the office windows. "What is this witchcraft?" we asked ourselves. Upon entering the office, our questions were answered. Christmas is here at Stone Junction!

By Charlie Stroe

Over the weekend, a secret Santa has let himself in and decorated our entire office, so it's all jolly and festive now. We've been eating mince pies since last week, but now it's officialChristmas is on its way


But you probably knew that already. All over the country, Christmas lights are being put up and Christmas carols are being played by radio stations. I even saw Santa on my street yesterday. Most of all, you'll probably have noticed the Black Friday madness last week.

In 2012, $59 billion was spent in the US on Black Friday alone. That's about the same as the GDP of Sudan. Although it sometimes means a welcomed boost for the economy, Black Friday has its dark side.

I love a good deal as much as the next person, but I'd never put anyone's safety in peril for, say, a cheap pair of earrings. Unfortunately, Black Friday has a long history of violent incidents.

As a result of this over 65 countries around the world have started celebrating "Buy nothing day", 24 hours when you challenge yourself, your family and friends to switch off shopping and tune into life. Like a mini shopping detox, if you will.

Buy nothing day challenges you to think twice about your purchases. Do you really need it, will it really benefit you, the person who it's meant for, and the environment? It's not anti-Christmas, it's not "Grinch-y", it's just aimed at getting people to stop and think for two seconds before making a purchase.

That being said, guess what day it is today? That's right, Cyber Monday. In recent years, online shopping monitoring has shown that the first Monday in December is the busiest day for online retailers. Visa Europe has predicted £450 million will be spent on its cards alone this year.

Amazon is preparing for its busiest day of the year, with sales expected to peak around 6 p.m. today. So if you were planning to do a little bit of Christmas shopping today, you might want to reconsider.

You probably hear this all the time. Christmas isn't about presents, it's about spending time with the persons you love and taking a moment to enjoy the little things that make it all worth while.

Christmas is about sharing the last of the Brussels sprouts - whether it's because you love them or hate them. It's about singing along to that Christmas carol you've heard every single year since you were little. It's about phoning up someone who you haven't spoken to in ages. About love and inner peace.

Maybe this year, instead of a huge shopping spree, you might want to try something like the Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar. They're very simple good-natured gestures that anyone can perform, and that will certainly make someone's day better.

From all of us here, at Stone Junction, enjoy December, it's an amazing time of year. Leave the pressure of presents behind and try to see the world through different eyes. Kinder, more calm, more loving.

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