Monday 24 December 2007

Christmas- Season of Excess For All Men

Well, the time off is good (I've actually SLEPT a bit recently)

But I hate the season with a passion.
It sums up everything that is wrong with our society.

'It's Chriiissstmaaasss.'
So fondling the other office staff after a few sherries is OK, as is throwing up in taxis, photocopying your private parts and e-mailing them to all your clients, mooning police cars and stealing traffic cones.

Well, I've done my bit for consumer spending, mainly at HMV, where I got presents for my parents, as well as my presents FROM my friends (OK, it's a funny way of doing it, but that's what we do. We each get ourselves something from the other person, it means we actually receive presents we want). I've spent ages wondering round Boots trying to find something suitable for an 85 year old woman and ended up just taking the sales assistant's advice.

Oh and I bought a Nun's outfit, which is a future present for the right person when they show up.


The economy has come to depend on it. If people don't ratchet up those credit card debts this December, we're in trouble.

A lot of places have now seen sense and MOVED the January sales FORWARD to before Christmas. HMV has.

Now there is supposed to be a point to all this. It is supposed to be when Jesus Christ was born.

Not a lot of people know that. (Joke, it just seems that way)

Now I will go to Mass tomorrow, but it isn't really important to me. Being born is something we all managed, it's the dieing on the cross thing that most of don't get as far as, so to me, it's Easter should be the big one. And it is for me, I go Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It makes up for my poor levels of devotion the rest of the year.

Now I do generally believe the Gospels for the most part. I think three out of four WERE written by the names associated with them, so for the most part I accept it as 'Gospel truth'. The nativity, I can't. There's just too much evidence to suggest it is an invention, caused by the necessity of needing to link a person everybody knew came from Nazareth with a birth in Bethlehem.
It doesn't add up in the slightest. The census that took place didn't take place during the reign of Herod, and it is unlikely to have involved the logistical nightmare of everyone returning to the town of their birth rather than staying put.

But anyway, Jesus has stopped being the real meaning of Christmas to most children in the twenty first century.
Enter the Lord of Misrule, mixed with a medieval hagiography about St Nicholas, and we have...

Santa Claus. Father Christmas.

Dressed in the livery of Coca Cola. Of course. Santa wore lots of colours at one time. Green mainly. After all, his ancestor was the Lord of Misrule, himself a descendant of the Green Man. Coca Cola first put him in red, on their advertising billboards. Coca Cola have truly made Christmas THEIR season.

I'm sorry, I just don't like him.
I don't like the lie.

Because it's not true, is it, that he only gives presents to good children. Remember Bing Crosby? The Boy who Santa Claus forgot? 'Poor little laddy, he hasn't got a Daddy'

A lot of NOT very good children, methinks, will receive X-boxes this year.

But more importantly, it's not just a nice little white lie.
I remember when I found out, when I was woken up by clumsy scurrying out of the bedroom.
Yes, I'd got what I'd asked for on my list. But I'd lost something too.

It's a lovely dream, it is, a LOVELY dream to believe in as a child. Until the moment you realise that your Mother sat there bold as brass whilst you set out a mince pie for Santa and a saucer of milk for his reindeer, encouraged you to listen out for those bells, maybe even at six years old you knew at the back of your mind it sounded a little far fetched, but if it wasn't true, then surely, surely, your own parents weren't in on the act.

But maybe it's a good thing.

Maybe it's good, that a young age we start to realise that much of what our parents and teachers tell us, will not in fact be true.
Maybe the sooner we start to realise that glitzy, mushy, happy endings are not real, the better.

Maybe it's good we learn young, that authority figures will tell you what they want you to hear.

Santa isn't real. Democracy isn't real. Your rights are illusory. Your freedom of speech will be drowned out. Princesses don't find Princes. Good people aren't rewarded. Justice has nothing to do with right and wrong. Life isn't black and white.

You've found one lie out, now spend your life working out the other ones.
Maybe not a bad place for them to start.

I don't know why, I have a sneaking suspicion most of you will be bored by three o'clock, stuffed with those chipolatas wrapped in bacon, underwhelmed by the stack of pink shirts and joke books and wondering if there's anything interesting online.

Merry Christmas, it's here, so let's make the most of it, in our own ways, ways special to us.

Have a Good'Un!


Anonymous said...

I remember shortly after 9/11 a tramp came up to me in Boston and said, waving a copy of The Economist, this was all so predictable: we haven't had a war in ages and the American economy depends on it.

I suppose that the UK economy depends on Christmas shopping is rather less destructive - even if the "spirit" of Christmas is totally undermined.

For me the Christmas period is for spending a bit of time with the family, eating nice food and relaxing. Our family is routinely crap at buying presents...

Anonymous said...

I think your discourse is right on target. It's really a shame that people don't really have the "real" Christmas spirit, instead of the "fake" one.

I think Coca-Cola ruined Christmas as well as millions of teeth. You know it is a rust cleaner.

"Oh and I bought a Nun's outfit, which is a future present for the right person when they show up."

I once met a Nun who was also a dominatrix. Want her number?

Anyway have a great Christmas everyday. Defy commercialization.

Anonymous said...

Who on earth is the right person to wear a nun's outfit?? :)

Anonymous said...

So much that I can agree with in this post Crushed, and I certainly always had trouble with the Santa story with my children when small. But somehow I don't think the learning of the "truth" brings too much harm to children.

As to whether we celebrate Jesus's birth at the historically correct time, I don't think that's totally important. But we celebrate everyone's birthday and this is just as good a time as any.

It's the excessive commercialism of it all that is depressing where people spend money (that some haven't got) on things that other people don't even want. I think you have a good idea about making sure you get something you definitely want from your friends.

For me it's getting together with my family, some of whom have travelled from far away, and sharing Christmas mass and a lovely meal together.

Merry Christmas to you, enjoy the good things about it.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with believing in Santa? Yes, he is not real, but I think when you find out Santa isn't real, you lose some of your innocence. The world becomes just a little tarnished.

I don't think that Santa should be used as a tool to control children. And I think that he should not become priority over the true meaning of Christmas.

Have a wonderful Christmas. Just remember, a new year is just around the corner.

Anonymous said...

He threw the money changers out of the temple... For a reason, too.

And over the years they crept back in. For their own reasons, which they say are our reasons.

From a bum poet to a writer and critic of the politics in this sure to be damned society, let me wish you a Merry Christmas, with no price tags attached.

Good will costs us nothing, yet so many act like it's to expensive to spare.

Anonymous said...

Stompy Christmas, brother.
Hope alla ya dreams come true!

Scary Monster.

Me goin out to nibble onna reindeer, yeah!

Anonymous said...

My wife conducted a celebration of marriage on Bintan , just over the water from Singapore when the celebrant was not available. The problem was she was 8 months pregnant and wore a Nuns costume. It was very entertaining. We went to the Registry wedding later when Hannah was born.

So there are some people who are right for a Nun's outfit.

Merry Christmas. We had salad, ham, pancakes and champagne by the pool in case you were interested.

Keep up your interesting posting. You do have something original to say.

Anonymous said...

Merry Xmas Morning, all!!!

Ed- I have a bag of presents here to take round to my Mum's. I suspect if I go soon, I may get some turkey, chipolatas and plum pudding. I do find Christmas day a drag on the whole, because the build up tells you its a special day, but once you've had Xmas dinner, the day kind of loses momentum.

Alexys- I do find myself seeing them as one of the key hi-jackers of the season.

This sounds like a fun nun. Her number would be great, but do I have to travel?

Oestrebunny- I would say;
a. A Nun.
b. Someone with a good imagination who understands Catholic guilt and the inner workings of my mind.

jmb- Well, I don't think it's up there with discovering you were adopted, for example, but it still sets things off on a wrong footing, I think.

My flatmate actually gift wrapped the present I'd bought myself. It's actually really sweet, the label reads 'To (Crushed) from XXXXX and Bump'. Though her bump still isn't really showing.

Phish- Tarnished, yes. I think it starts there. As you approach ten, you start to notice that ot all the people who have got together in that living room actually like eachother.

Eric- From a hireling of the system to a free spirit, in this society we can all pitch in to save, a very enjoyable Xmas and a New Year made from the stuff of dreams.

Monster- And may your dreams likewise. I hope all slots in to place and the occasional stomp is heard.

There's a open air market in New Street sometimes, with a stall that has Ostrich Burgers, Crocodile Burgers, etc. I just got this idea that they should de Reindeer Burgers.

Colin- :) It sounds an unusual wedding. Then again I've been to one where BOTH parties wore suits.

Sometimes I think it would be odd, having Christmas in Summer, but then again, to me the idea that January is a hot month would be odd.

In fact it isn't cold here today, it drizzled yesterday, but I can nip outside without putting a jacket on. That's my twenty ninth Christmas that showed no chance at all of being white.

Pancakes. Mmmm.

I fully intend to be posting a long time yet :)

Anonymous said...

I'm not a believer as you know , Crushed, but someone who brought a message of peace, forgiveness and real love to the world would be a better bet than others for me.

Anonymous said...

same old pagan celebration all disguide in a new Coke Santa version christmas...

we all know Santa is for real - he's just in Finland and not in North Pole as ppl might think. :)

Happy Holidays!

Anonymous said...

"Oh and I bought a Nun's outfit, which is a future present for the right person when they show up."

Do I even want to know??

For some reason, the beginning of this post brought me back to this little thing called the Calgary Stampede in the city I used to reside in. It's one of the world's biggest rodeos (a little embarrassing in all honesty), and the entire city descends into some sort of ridiculous debaucherous state where assless chaps become de rigeur.

It become hard to hold to day-to-day life when that surrounds you!

Anonymous said...

Welshcakes- So forget the rest of it. Forget the trying to work out whether he was God or not. My take on that is a little complex, so walk away from that.

Just see him as a PHILOSOPHER. Take away the God bit. And then you look at the greatest philosopher we have ever seen.

That's the basis of my Christianity. And any self righteous hypocrite who tells me I'm not a Christian can go self-fertilise themselves. It's about saying, you're a man/woman, that makes you my brother/sister, I'm not going to hate you.

Crashie- True, very true.
We're a bit unlucky here, in many ways. In Scandinavia, it was clear cut. Luther won, That meant many of your traditions, Lucia, etc, survived.
Here, the ideological war meant almost every tradition that meant something was slowly killed off, as a 'Catholic superstition'. We lost the rich traditions of medieval Christendom, in a way Scandinavia has not.

Princess P- :) Possibly not.
I am aware this getting horny about nuns is not healthy, and I blame Kirsty Maclean (a Mule For Sister Sarah).

The Rodeo is an interesting function. It shows how young history is, in many ways, in North America. It really is a 'tradition' in that continent. For us here, where 'modern' history begins with the construction of the first steam emgine in 1709 at Dudley Castle, and an old town is one that predates the Saxon conquest, the way North Americans glamourise that period of history is interesting. Probably worthy of a post, actually.
In fact I'd be interested in sharing ideas with you about that conceptualisation.

When I was in my early twenties, believe it or not, my 'ass' was considered my best feature...