Christmas

One month to go. The internet will shortly be deluged with Christmas blog posts of one sort or another, and so I thought I’d get mine in early.

Because that’s what you do with Christmas; you get in there early, and stoke it up.

I have been told so often that when it comes to Christmas, I am a curmudgeonly old misanthrope, that I could almost believe it.

But not quite.

I do not dislike Christmas.

Far from it.

What I do dislike, though, is the greed and consumerism that has been steadily growing up around it for more years than I care to remember.

The greed and consumerism that fuels the pressure to buy more and buy bigger; the pressure on parents from their children; the peer pressure over who gets the most, who gets the biggest.

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The greed that encourages shops to put up decorations in August or September, and run Christmas adverts then in an attempt to promote and fuel this feeding frenzy.

It is not an exaggeration to say that families can virtually get bankrupted with the costs of presents and entertainment. There are many families who spend thousands of pounds on Christmas.

Is that really what it is supposed to be about?

Unless you take the trouble to go into a church, you could be excused for not knowing that Christmas is supposed to be the festival that celebrates the birth of Christ.

It would appear to celebrate greed, especially on every television channel and in every department store.

Until Victorian times, Christmas wasn’t much celebrated, Easter being the important festival in the Christian calendar. Much of its popularity came from Charles Dickens championing it in books such as ‘A Christmas Carol.’

Since then, though, there has always been an element of overindulgence, of booziness. But that is to be expected with a festival. Where Yule was celebrated, there was feasting and drinking, so there would always be some who indulged a little more than others.

And so I am ambivalent about it. On the one hand, there is this ghastly mass consumerism, which I find utterly nauseating.

On the other, it is, really, just another of those winter festivals that originated to give people hope that the bitter, hard season would eventually be left behind, and that spring would come. That is what I like.

Because in that, it is about hope, something that we could all do with more of, at the moment.

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25 thoughts on “Christmas

  1. Once again I agree with you 100%. I used to live Xmas but lately I am becoming more and more disconnected until I think soon I won’t even acknowledge it. The 25th is a special day as that’s when the four of us spend the day together eating our fave foods, playing our fave game and just enjoying the quiet and each other’s company. A rare opportunity as we are all so busy. Last year we didn’t even bother with a tree.

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  2. I do like Christmas, but I completely agree that the emphasis on consumption is distasteful and rather depressing. There are children all over the world who think it’s a festival to celebrate the life and times of Santa Claus — and poor children all over the world who wonder why Santa does not love them as much as he loves the rich kids.

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  3. I really appreciate and subscribe to your thoughts. The whole society has been sucked in to consume more and keep the profits of enterprises coming in! The real reasons are lost. We do witness similar phenomenon during Diwali in India. of course, it’s not to the level of gifting one sees in developed world. But we are witnessing the festival being turned into a Commercial affair!

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        1. Not a good omen, I fear. I suppose that in a way it was always like that, only whereas it used to be small traders selling sweets and small toys from trays and market stalls, it is now multi-national businesses with huge budgets and masses of advertising pushing expensive glossy nonsense.

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  4. So true, Mick. Along with much of everyday life, Christmas has been hijacked by Big Business as a means of making more profit for shareholders and those in charge of companies. We are but consumers, and our job is to ensure that we continue to feed the addiction of the rich to their money so that they don’t suffer withdrawal symptoms. The solution really is in our hands. Refuse to play any more. It’s not easy, but if enough of us did it, it would make a difference. As is so often the case, we, the public, are as culpable in this horrendous celebration of greed and overconsumption as those who foist it on us.
    Merry Christmas!

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    1. We shall have our usual small Christmas, Stuart. Fairly small presents for the grandchildren (and absolutely nothing that requires batteries!), and token treats for the rest of the close family only. Few decorations; mainly twigs of holly from the local woodland, and reasonably modest meals. Most of the entertainment will be some special films, charades, and we always pick 3 pieces of music and 3 readings of some sort for the others to listen to. Merry Christmas to you and yours, too.

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  5. Yes, I always try to remember that this is a festival of light and hope, from a time when signal fires blazed on the hills and survival depended on the light and summer returning. The eating and presents are fun, but 15 Christmases away from my family reminded me what I really love about it, and that is the time I spend with them. People can go nuts with spending, etc and I think it’s sad when that is all the holiday represents to them.

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  6. I totally agree with you, Mick. Christmas has become far too commercial in today’s society. I, myself, have a very simple Christmas; a simple but festive meal, no lurid decorations apart from my modest Christmas tree that my Carer insists on putting up each year.

    I do buy gifts for the ‘little’ members of my family but refuse to buy ‘gadgets’ or phones etc. Young children are learning to text before they are able to write and my granddaughter was able to use the TV remote control when she was barely out of nappies!

    I do have a Christian faith and have to say that the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ gets so commercialized that it is barely recognizable unless you attend church (not that I’m a ‘shove it in your face’ Christian). I believe each to their own when it comes to faith and religion although it is awful that religion is also responsible for so many wars and killings.

    On a cheerier note, I wish you a happy Christmas and a great New Year. (Incidentally, I am now following your blog),

    Ellie 🙂

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    1. Thanks Ellie! And a very happy Christmas to you, too. Yes, I agree completely with everything you say, there. Of course, there have been plenty of wars and killings that have had nothing to do with religion. And at the heart of every major religion is a message of peace and love.

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