Don't Read This Post if You're Full of Christmas Cheer

Tuesday 25 December 2007

Seriously. If you love Christmas, please don't bother reading this post because it will probably just irritate you. And I am rather extreme in my Yuletide views, so it may seem to you that I am overblowing the case. But this is what I feel about Christmas.

I am fed up with it already (it is Christmas Day here). I got together with my family last night, which was nice. Today I am getting together with my friend Jane and a ragamuffin group of misplaced people - about 12 of us, if everyone turns up - who have nowhere else to go this day. I hope that it will be lovely and enjoyable, despite the fact that I only know 2 people who are going which means 10 people to make small talk with. I hate small talk. Especially when I'm feeling grouchy because it's Christmas.

So if you do like Christmas, if you are getting into the spirit (it being Christmas Eve for most of you reading this), then don't read any further. Cause the last thing I want to do is rain on anyone's parade. I love watching my dear cousin Andrea at Christmas. Her childlikeness is a joy to watch. She loves Chrissy, the remembrance of childhood past, watching her own two boys experience the joys of Christmas. I understand all of that.

I just can't enter into it. Maybe that says more about me and my current state of mind and relative unhappiness and grief and stuff, and of course my cross to carry of cynical cultural structure dismantling makes it difficult for me to enter into something which just feels so wholly fake to me. But I am mindful that my cynicism can be a barrier to enjoying life. I do know this, and I think I take it too far, but there you have it.

I hate Christmas for so many reasons. I hate the commodification of Christ's birthday. He never even once said anything about making a big party out of his birthday (which almost certainly wasn't on December 25 anyway).

I also hate the fact that the people who are most oppressed by life have it enlarged and engorged and pointed out to them in neon over Christmas. Hey, loser, look at you. Lonely? Depressed? Struggling? No family? Crap family? Struggling with addictions? No friends? A life that looks like a postcard on the outside but is totally empty on the inside? A feeling your life isn't counting for anything? Well, get over it 'cause it's Christmas. Ring those sleigh bells and get over having a life that's not Hallmark. Whatever people are struggling with - and I don't know anyone who isn't struggling - we all buy into this ridiculous Coca-Colafication of the winter/summer solstice period and I don't know a lot of people who really get off on this (except for parents with children).

Yes, I know, none of this is a reason to stop the whole thing. But it's another reason for me to hate it. I warned my family last night that there is a possibility that next Christmas I won't be around, if we do it on Christmas Day, because I think I may go and help out at a homeless shelter or something. Or find a cave to crawl into until January 1.

I think too I have learnt to hate Christmas even more since being sick. There's nothing like having to jump through a whole stack of hoops when you don't have the energy to climb through one to make you start questioning everything. I felt terribly resentful that I had to go through the whole Christmas thang. (Suffice to say, three years ago I hosted Christmas and went pretty full-on with preparing dishes and stuff and loved it. I enjoy cooking for people. I do love the communal aspect of Christmas, the out-of-the-ordinary of it). And then last year, grossly raw from a marriage breakup - that one wasn't so fun either.

And everyone I have spoken to all say some version of, "Well, ultimately it's for the kids, isn't it?" And I don't know whether that's enough to keep the whole thing going, for mine.

They estimated the other day that the average spend for Victorians this Christmas was $900 each. I presume that is for every man, woman and child in Victoria. Which means that some people are spending absolute shitloads of money for this thing called Christmas. Sometimes I wonder if people are stuffing themselves with food and presents not just because that's what you get to indulge at this time of year, but because this is one of the few times where that Jesus bloke is kinda coming in and out of their heads a bit and they feel discomfted by that? Nothing better to keep that at bay than shoving more stuff in.

Yes, Virginia, I am too cynical. It's something I'm working on. But hey, I can't help my gothic turn of mind, and every year increasingly I can't help getting visuals of the fat, bloated West obscenely gorging itself while the rest of the world is hungry.

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