Seasons greetings readers, those of you who are left anyway, hope you’re all gearing up for a holly jolly merry jerry…berry…cherry pie…ass, sorry I can’t do this. Christmas is the one time of year when my potentially undiagnosed split personality/schizophrenia seems to manifest itself the most, and now I shall proceed to lay out why.
On the one hand I f**king love it. Having a lit up christmas tree in the corner, a warm cosy house, quenching your lust for presents, endless gluttony, slothing out in front of the telly, oh, wait, this all sounds an awful lot like, DUH DUH DUHHHHHHHH, the seven not-so-deadly sins. Okay, that was excessive, I do love all of that stuff despite all my cynical misgivings, but even the most die hard jumper wearing, card making, tree decorating, turkey roasting Christmasophile must concede that after a while it all gets a bit much. Advent started this year on the 1st of December, but I swear to the newborn baby Jesus that the adverts started the second that the supermarkets cleared out the last of their Halloween tat. I understand that this argument has been made a bazillion times before but, screw you, I need to rant.
Christmas is no longer about Christ, though really it never was, prepare yourselves for some hardcore wikipedia-ing. Wait, no I can’t be bothered, but everyone knows the old chestnut about the first Christian Roman Emperor lining up the new celebration of Christmas with the established pagan festivals, as well as adopting traditions from other cultures and traditions such as decorating trees, giving gifts, and a suspicious looking old man coming round with presents (though I would much rather prefer Odin to Santa) etc etc.
My other bone has also been plucked clean by many a fellow ranter, how the message of Christmas, about new life and redemption for mankind, has been buried under a veritable avalanche of John Lewis adverts, 2 for 1 bottles of Schloer, Kirsty Allsop telling us how to make baubles out of recycled vintage skirts and three million (rough estimate) Christmas specials for shows that really do not need Christmas specials. We’re approaching a point of saturation, the event horizon at which we’ll all be sucked into an endless spiral of M&S canapés and forced joy that will consume the rest of the year.
In England there are arguably only two major holidays, Easter and Christmas. Jesus was born on one and died on the other, and both have been hijacked by the big brands to squeeze out every last penny from our wallets. Granted a similar tale takes place in other parts of the globe. Americans are suckered every year into forking over ludicrous amounts of money for Thanksgiving, they place a weird amount of emphasis on Halloween, their Christmases are naught but an excessive amount of food and eye-rape lighting arrangements, and then there’s the 4th of July, which I won’t get into for fears of offending our randomly sensitive friends across the pond. There’s a similar story in India, anyone who has been in the country near any major festival can see how the brands have slowly started to try their hand at similar practices there, Diwali sales are increasingly seized upon by consumers, and the amount of gold bought for festivals is actually having an impact on the value of the rupee.
Christmas time is not merely about the give and take of presents, parties with neighbours, mandatory giant dinners and the Doctor Who special (well, maybe the last one a bit). The spirit of Christmas, of giving to those less fortunate, of giving thanks for all we have, spending time with our families, not just as present piñatas, but as human beings to love and care for. This idea has been lost, swept away by all the things I mentioned above, and it’s time to bring it back. The vast majority of children and teens today are oblivious to issues outside of how angry they are with their parents and “that fit bird what sits at the back in Biology,” it’s high time that this cavalier consumerist attitude to Christmas was abandoned in favour of a simpler time, as Flanders would put it, perhaps time for “imaginary Christmas.” (I got a pogo stick)
But seriously, like f**k is that going to happen, and so maybe it’s time to look at it from a different perspective, maybe the consumerism is Christmas. No longer is it a festival celebrating Jesus’ birth, maybe it’s now just the time of year when we all bow to the altar of excess and hungrily feast upon the communion wafer of debt, and you know what? I don’t mind that. The thing that really gets me is when people pretend that Christmas for them is something it isn’t, so it’s time to get rid of that last veneer of vague religiosity and embrace what it really is. Stop pretending it’s a free-range Norfolk Black Turkey when it’s really just an Iceland Three Bird Roast, it’s not Taste the Difference, it’s taste the same, it’s beige banality and high street hysteria. It’s the most tacky time of the year, and I bloody love it.
The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.
XOXO, The Merry Indian.