Ooookay people…here we are again staring down the barrel of yet another ‘Season of Goodwill’, though nowaday’s the meaning of that well-worn phrase is increasingly lost on me. Before I type another word I should, perhaps, admit to being a fully paid-up member of the Green party, but this doesn’t mean that I have forsaken soap and water, knit my own yoghurt and spend my day’s lying prostrate on a road in a busy town centre but, that I do have rather a lot in common with the Grinch and, in this particular context green is very much my colour.
I don’t hate Christmas perse but I am increasingly disturbed by what it has become over the years. As a child, my memories centre around the taste of the glue on the paper strips that we lovingly fashioned into chains, after which we attached our Christmas cards to gaily coloured string with little plastic pegs and called these arrangements our ‘decorations’. Nowaday’s the tree’s which, for some of us occupy a corner of our living rooms anytime from September onwards, are all depressingly similar to those displayed in our local garden centre’s. Coiffed and coordinated to perfection without a single table tennis ball drawn on by a child anywhere in sight.
Treats consisted of a box of candied lemon and orange slices for the children and Christmas was the only time that we ever saw a bottle of Warninks advocaat, a jar of morello cherries and the plastic swords that accompanied them appear in our house. We had net bags full of brazil nuts that we could never shell successfully no matter how much we spent on an implement to do the job and hampers full of items such as Ye Old Oak ham, Birds boxed trifle’s and Vesta curries which for very good reasons were never eaten before January and only then because money was often a bit tight.
Presents were genuinely a surprise on Christmas morning and even if I had wanted a Doll’s House and not the two felt tip pens I got one year instead I was still thrilled. Ooookay that last bit was a big fat lie I was pretty P****d off to be fair, I just couldn’t resist the temptation to over egg nog my case.
I know that my view of Christmas is heavily camouflaged in a nostalgic sepia mist and can readily accept that the Christmas memories created this year will be fondly revived in the minds of those that lived through them in all those that have yet to come.
BUT I ask myself …at which point did Amazon become a replacement for Father Christmas and the thought that went into those letters lovingly sent to him. Now by the simple click of a mouse Santa is despatched to your address, not on a sleigh pulled by reindeer but, in a white transit van and his festive red coat has been replaced by a high vis vest, where is the fun in that? Er…actually forget I said that Amazon does have its uses not least as the retailer of my book
‘The Funny Thing About Being a Widow?’
which is available now and in time for Christmas and, please leave an honest review of it if you can!! There…now I can add downright hypocrisy to my expanding list of character flaws.
To continue my rant I am a shopper who does her last-minute Christmas food shop during the night to minimise contact with other humans, though even then I can still find myself in the thick of a scrummage to secure a bag of sprouts. I don’t even like bloody sprouts and the left-overs, which are considerable because nobody I buy them for likes them either, have never yet made it into that Boxing Day breakfast bubble and squeak I plan to make every year.
Don’t even get me started on the levels of debt that people are prepared to get into in order to fund the ‘perfect’ Christmas which seems can only happen through the acquisition of ‘stuff’ clever marketing strategies have convinced us we need. Then there is all that wasted food which would be so appreciated by food banks, Crisis and countless other charities who do at least give me some faith in the existence of the ‘Season of Goodwill’, but then another thought has just struck me too.
As I sit here in my little office outside of which it is dark, as is the case at 6 O’clock on a winters evening, only it isn’t ever completely dark in December. The house opposite is festooned with twinkly lights, and the same is true of most of the houses in the little cul-de-sac in which my little Doll’s House resides, and if I am completely honest, she too could give a Blackpool tram a run for its money at the moment.
I have already admitted to being hypocritical so there is no further need to highlight this in your e-mails, though on second thoughts please subscribe to the site and tell me exactly what you think…I need the followers!
As I watch the house opposite, host a projected flying reindeer and giant snowflakes not unlike the ones replicated on the facade of my own home, I am reminded that whilst Christmas is not a happy time for everyone, it does have a unifying element to it. It is after all the only time of the year when the majority of us prepare to do the same thing at the same time, irrespective of the individual methodology. I am not a religious person who fully understands the reasons of those who will disagree with my statement that the supposed ‘true’ meaning of Christmas has been long overtaken by the huge economic exercise that it has become.
Speaking as a very fortunate and happily re-married widow I learned all too painfully how a ritual I took for granted for many years can disappear overnight without actually going anywhere at all.
Having reflected on what I have written here I don’t think I will be turning my ‘Green card’ in anytime soon, but I will re-think my attitude towards sprouts, they are at least the right colour. I will also try to remember that despite my own feelings towards modern-day Yuletide that I am also the custodian of the memories of my stepson and temper my behaviours accordingly…it isn’t his fault that I prefered Scrooge before his transformation.
Wherever you are, whoever you are or what your feelings about Christmas might be I want to wish each and everyone one of you the very best Christmas. A big thank you to all those of you who have supported me in my endeavours my gratitude knows no bounds. Merry Christmas everybody.