That Time Again

At this time of year, I have been known to ruminate upon the festive season (see posts for December 2011 and December 2009). And if you’ve been following this blog you’ll know I am not the world’s biggest fan of Christmas. Yes, there are good things about it. It’s mostly the blatant commercialism I object to – the pressure on people to buy things they can’t afford for people they don’t like.

And there’s the hypocrisy. It’s supposed to be the season of peace and goodwill. It’s not. The number of angry stressed people I have encountered over the last three weeks has been startling, even for London. We might be aiming for peace and goodwill, but since the human race seem biologically inclined to kill each other, we’re not going to achieve it. If we were, we would have gone some way to eliminate war, but from what I can see there are as many conflicts around the globe as there ever were.

However, I do get a tad more philosophical as I get older. I don’t mind spending time with the older generation at this time of year, even if I don’t agree with their politics. They’re not going to be around forever, and if gathering the family around for Christmas dinner makes them happy, it’s not that much to ask.

Generally I refuse to even think about Christmas until we are well into December, but we’ve had to be unusually organised this year. Hubby was despatched to the US to work for most of December. We had to have conversations before he left about what presents we were buying for who, and many emails were exchanged about this, including links to suitable gifts that could be bought online. Hence, most of it was ordered online and the only hardship I had was carrying various packages home from work via public transport.  Which was infinitely better than having to fight my way through the shops in the West End.

Of course the blatant sexism of Christmas adverts (particularly Asda’s Christmas advert – see my earlier post on sexism for more about this) is still intensely irritating. Every time yet another perfume advert comes on, I want to throw something at the TV. But I like the concept of ‘eating, drinking and making merry’. If nothing else, it’s an excuse to go out for drinks with your friends. And I can accept the fact that this time of year should be a time of feasting and merriment. Christians may disagree, but you can celebrate the festive season without believing in Christ. Most major religions have a time of feasting and celebration round about the winter solstice, and many of our Christmas traditions are pagan in origin, and have nothing to do with the birth of Jesus.

Then there are Christmas songs. I admit to liking Slade and Wizzard’s festive offerings, and of course the Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” is wonderful. But my favourite Christmas song ever is Greg Lake’s “I Believe in Father Christmas”. I think I like it because it’s slightly cynical – a comment on the over-commercialisation of Christmas.  I include the original video.  The quality is bad, but I like the fact that it was filmed in the Middle East in the midst of conflict – a further comment, I think, on the irony of Christmas being about peace and love.

So go out, celebrate, eat and drink and make merry. However you choose to spend the festive season, I wish you happiness.

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