Friday, 19 December 2008

Bar Humbug and all that

With Christmas just round the corner it’s tempting to be cynical about the whole thing. Actually that does sound fun… no! I promised myself I would cut the cynicism somewhat. Although a few weeks ago I was shouting ‘bar humbug’ from the top of my lungs with genuine enthusiasm (yes I was getting enthusiastically cynical, or is it cynically enthusiastic?), as the 25th gets closer and closer I am actually quite looking forward to it this year. The fact that I am going skiing tomorrow (hence why this is early this week) may have something to do with that.

The thing that does rather get on my nerves is the fact that Christmas seems to start earlier and earlier every year. By mid-October we have advertisements for Christmas offers and gaudy, ugly and absurd Christmas lights adorning people’s houses in some mad disregard for all standards of taste and reserve. I don’t mind people getting together and having a bit of fun in the bleak mid-winter, but it seems that we are taking this whole exercise of social engineering a little too far. I think Christmas would actually be improved if we held back a little and actually started thinking about Christmas a little later, rather than beginning the long tedious build up in mid-autumn so that by the time the 25th does come about we are not all bored stiff of the hysteria.

Well that is the first dose of cynicism out the way. I do actually quite like Christmas; while it is a completely absurd and transparent piece of social engineering designed by an utter genius a few too many thousand years ago to make us all happy when it’s cold and wet and crappy, I do find it works rather well. I quite enjoy waking round my sleepy village in the middle of nowhere delivering Christmas cards to random houses hoping that the name on the card corresponds to the name of the person who receives it. I wish random people a Merry Christmas and generally get to feel good about myself despite being cold and wet.

Christmas presents too are good fun, especially when you know exactly what you are getting. My family has done away with the façade of surprises at Christmas time and have taken to ordering our own presents on Amazon and faking surprise when we open them. We have not yet taken to wrapping our own presents, but I’m sure the time will come. We are not even bothering to open Christmas presents on Christmas day this year; we are moving it forwards to this evening in a complete abandonment of tradition and the generally accepted formula. This is not a whimsical eccentricity on our part (if you’ll excuse the sheer pretentiousness of that statement); as we are going skiing over Christmas (sorry did I not mention that, oh no, of course I did. I‘m so sorry), we will not be here on Christmas day and it would take the weight of our luggage over the limit if we were to try to take all our presents over to Austria with us (which is where we’re going skiing, obviously).

One thing that has always worried me about Christmas is the myth of Santa Claus (oh sorry, did you not realise he wasn’t real… I’m sorry you had to find out this way. Please stop crying. I guess this would be a bad time to say that the Easter Bunny and God don’t exist either huh? Yeah, I though so). As far as I can tell, Christmas is the only time when we think that the idea of a fat old man climbing down our chimney and giving our kids presents is a good thing. Normally we would be phoning the police faster than you can sing jingle bells.

Another thing that I find amusing is the fact that people take the religious part of Christmas so seriously. Has it not occurred to them that Jesus probably wasn’t born on the 25th of December and the Church just decided to hijack the midwinter festival I order to make the new religious more acceptable to the pagans of the Roman Empire? If anything we should be praying to the powers that be to make sure the days start getting longer rather than continuing to shorten until we are left with eternal darkness and hence the end of the world, which isn’t going to happen by the way so put the goat down and step away from the alter.

In fact the Christian story of the birth of Jesus has long perplexed me. A woman claims to have been impregnated by the Holy Spirit? And no one thought this a tad bit unlikely? No one cried wolf an accused Joseph of screwing Mary a little before the wedding? Either the people of first century Nazareth were monumentally gullible or our sources miss out a large part of the story. Exactly what census demands that you return to the place where your father was born anyway? Which socially repressed retard out of touch with the real world decided that the best way of counting how many people there were was to make half of them temporarily move to a different town? How spastic do you have to think that is a good idea?

So anyway, away from all the religious bullshit and absurd myths, Christmas is fun, ‘tis a season to be merry and all the cliché stuff. Go be happy or something. I’m gonna go to Austria and ski. Bye! Next weeks blog will be a little late as I don’t get back until Saturday and you can fuck off if you think I’m gonna write a blog the moment I get back. So anyway, see you next Sunday and have a very merry Christmas, and don’t drink too much…

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