Next year: make Christmas more commercial

So that was Christmas, as John Lennon almost sort of said. Xmas has become ex-mas for yet another year and we’ll have to wait at least four months before supermarkets break out the decorations again. And not a moment too soon. What Christmas needs is more commercialisation. At least enough to squeeze the charities out of the advertising market. More of that later, but first: what’s the worst pseudo-sin you can commit at Christmas? Is it greed (in the Bible)? Covetousness (also there)? Gluttony (there a scary amount)? No. It’s humbuggery (which, now that I write it down, does sound a little wrong), the sin of not getting into the ‘Christmas spirit’.

I mocked a colleague recently for taking his staff out of a Christmas lunch that had overrun its time before they had finished. I mentioned ‘Dark Satanic Mills’ and put on my best (worst) cockney accent to cry loudly: ‘But Mister Scrooge! It’s Chrissmiss!’ I felt affronted that he wanted his staff to work a full day at a particularly busy time of year. Why? Because it’s Christmas! That phrase: ‘it’s Christmas’, apparently means the rules do not apply anymore. Work hours are optional, diets no longer exist, murder is legal and Garry Glitter gets to perform in the local cub-scout panto alongside Nick Griffin, who’ll be doing a bit of Jew-baiting as a warm-up act. You object? But it’s Christmas!

The news over the Christmas period has been littered with minor stories and editorials from papers all over the (snow)CAN image globe that use the short-hand ‘Scrooge’ for anyone guilty of ignoring this principle. Spiked online referred to ‘Eco-Nezer Scrooges’, ‘Christmas miserabilists’ who now use the language of environmentalism to spoil everybody’s fun. Because, obviously, over Christmas, your car ceases to puff out CO2 and starts sighing special wishes that turn into lovely snowflakes and smell of the dreams of children.

But what is Christmas, anyway? Forgive me for being foreign and protestant (I mean properly Protestant, not like my Anglican UK citizen wife, who seems to instinctively understand Christmas rituals and liturgies as if her father had been a catholic priest – well, you know what I mean) but aside from an excuse for possibly the greatest calendars in the world outside of Pirelliville, I don’t even know what Advent is. So to me, Christmas is the 25th of December. It is certainly a reason to celebrate, and it can be magical, but don’t you get tired of that ‘real meaning of Christmas’ gubbins?

Somehow, according to my tv, that ‘real meaning’ just happens to be saving puppies. Or child-slaves. Or puppies enslaved to children. Or any number of genuinely worthy causes, all demanding as much of me as supermarkets and advertisers are. As if crippling my family with debt to also save a donkey sanctuary is that much better than just buying too many (more than we tend to buy) presents. As if the concept of celebrating Christmas by buying anything was not odd.

We Christians, who claim to understand the true meaning, finish saying how we prefer ‘Christmas’ to ‘Xmas’ and express our gratitude to our saviour by running ourselves into the ground trying to prove we love people by throwing money at them.

So I say bring on the full corporate ownership of Christmas. Let it make us so sick of the pressure to spend, to get bigger, better gifts and the need to pretend love is a financial transaction, that we return to what it could be. Just a day. A simple commemoration, an excuse to spend time with friends or family and a time to reflect on how we should be giving to charity, cutting people slack and showing love to those we call loved-ones all year round.

Of course, Christmas is also the time we (the Christians) celebrate the birth of the Master. This is cute:

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One Response

  1. Thanks for the laugh — had to post that video to my blog too.

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