The good news is that I’m still alive. The downside is that apparently, it’s only 110 days until Christmas. I was informed, and I was not happy. I took that photo today, by the way.
I’m not a Scrooge, I love Christmas, I love that for just one or two days people behave like they’re supposed to. They care about their fellow man, they give without the encouragement of a promised gift in return. They hold their tongue and think on what their reply might be, lest they hurt someone in an argument. I love finding people presents and knowing that they’re going to love them. I love seeing their happy or confused faces, I love the chocolate. I cherish the tangled, decorative mess of coloured paper, torn from their temporary home by eager, happy fingers. I love the chance to curl up with a hot chocolate, and a tender film that, any other time of year, should be hokey, but at Christmas, it becomes heart warming. I love watching Boo pick her way through discarded ribbons and shreds of paper to find a new catnip toy. I love so much about Christmas.
I know that every Christmas is a horrible disappointment, I know I won’t get to lay in, I know I won’t get hot chocolate and a good film. I know my family won’t be able to play nice for one whole day; they hate each other too much. They won’t put any thought into what they say to each other. But despite all of that, despite the broken dreams, the massive disillusionment, the heated and spiteful arguments half way through the evening, I still love it.
But I hate it, all at the same time.
There’s not the Dickensian-esque approach to Christmas anymore. To the people or the time. People are too busy, too rushed, too absorbed. In everything. They rush into my shop on Christmas eve, finding something, anything, just to make a bigger, better present than the one that their friend bought them. It’s not about care anymore, it’s a competition. Understandable, but upsetting.
In this world, we have a lot of holidays between now and christmas. For example, in September, we have: Happy cat month, headlice prevention month, Roald Dahl day (13th), Talk like a pirate day (19th), Blasphemy day (fuck it, it’s the 30th).
In October, we have: Bat appreciation month, breast cancer awareness month, Downs syndrome awareness month, Leif Erickson day (9th), mental health day (10th), grouch day (15th) and Hallowe’en (31st).
In November, we have: Alzheimer’s month (fairly certain there’s one in September too, but I guess they forgot), Movember, jellyfish day (3rd), use your common sense day (4th), remembrance day (11th), Los Dias de Los muertos, or day of the dead (2-5th), Thanksgiving (28th).
In December, before Christmas, we have: Root vegetable and exotic fruit month, Abolition of slavery day (2nd), Ninja day (5th), time traveller day (8th, though I guess it could be the 7th, or the 9th, if it wanted), world peace meditation day (31st, I know, after Christmas, but still cool!) and finally, Christmas day (25th, duh).
Yes, a lot of those are American, but a ton of them are international. Hell, here’s the link, have fun with it!
There’s so many holidays over the entire year, and the second we get about half way through the year, companies start shoving Christmas down our throat. This is not the big shops fault, or rather, not the staffs fault. It’s the CEOs and the shareholders, they want more of your money. And they know they’ll get it eventually. I’d like to say something like “Rise up, stand against, the many can defeat the few. Hold off your Christmas purchases, after a few years they’ll have no choice but to hold off their early attempted Christmas sales.” Start waving a banner, maybe. The problem is, all the fine people are struggling for money, they will start spreading their shopping out over a few months, instead of a few weeks. Which makes sense. It also stops the panic.
Holidays are losing their charm, they’re losing the sheen of novelty, just as Christmas is. So many people have had so many disappointments at that ‘magical’ time of year, they apply Christmas just to children. Squash firmly declares that Christmas is for kids, it’s not the same for adults. I’m very tempted to decorate the flat this year, just to see how long the tinsel and baubles survive, before they meet some kind of horrible death. I imagine that Boo will be framed for it.
But I’m missing an important thing about Christmas. It may not be about a baby being born, or kids, or any of the original thoughts. But it is still about family, whether your family is just you and a cat, or a budgie, whether it’s you, your partner and kids, or a pet, or you and a partner, or just you. It’s there to remind you that not everything is commercial. It’s not always about the next big thing. It’s about remembering. Remember, those people you are spending it with, or used to, or wish you could, just one more time. Also, remember, if you’re going to be spending Christmas with a roof over your head, be grateful for that at least. Please. If you can help, do.
I’m not talking about going out and inviting every rag-tag homeless person into your home, or going out with plates of hot food for everyone you see in the street. I won’t be doing that, I’m too paranoid. But there are charities, people who do go out, with blankets and food. They need funds, and acknowledgement. They may not have the best Christmas ever, but with your help, a few less homeless people will die this Christmas, shivering in a doorway. Not every homeless person is a scam artist, and the ones still out in the cold and snow aren’t always there through their own fault. Sometimes, something as simple as being made redundant is all that separates the average guy in a suit from a ‘bum’ on the street.
But for fucks sake, can we have summer and all our other holidays first please?