Christmas isn't What it Used to Be...
I was reading an article on the interwebs the other day, and began to wonder whether the Christmases of bygone days really are better than today. I personally hate Christmas. I'm not sure when the cold hand of Christmas cynicism placed itself upon my shoulder, but throughout my adolescence and young adult life, I've despised Christmas and all it stood for. And therein lies the problem. What does it stand for? We see the highly commercialised aspects all around us. We see advertising for gifts, food and other such treats in early November, even October;with shops keen to get their hands on our now carefully horded pennies. With the credit crunch, recession and general financial depression in full swing around the globe, many people are wising up to advertisers promises of fun, frivolity and carefree turkey lunches. However, this has not translated into practice for most people. I took a trip into town over the weekend and observed the crazed, dangerous Christmas shopping rituals that have become as holy as Christmas itself.
The bigger department stores were stupidly busy, as per any weekend, but even the smaller, specialist shops were heaving; a constant trickle of people floating in and out, wrapped up from the bitter winds that blew up and down the main shopping areas. Even years ago, when times were better, the streets were full to bursting with people young and old, scurrying like rats through beautifully decorated drains, scrambling for last minute crumbs of gifts, toys and accessories. It was a battle on a large scale, fighting people, pigeons, and the elements just to pick up one more bubble bath set from Boots. I hated, and still do, with all my heart, having to don my scarf and march solemnly into the field of battle.
I think that's why Christmases back in the day seem so appealing to us now. There was little to no commercialism, there were real Christmas trees and real log fires, and, most importantly, real, soft white snow. All the symbols of Christmas devoid of ulterior motives or intent. Good, honest home cooked food, families together and enjoying each others company, and the idea that it was a religious occasion, celebrating the birth of Jesus. Now, I'm not religious, and this isn't some thinly veiled attempt to get all biblical on you, but I do think the true meaning of Christmas; meanings of love, forgiveness, compassion and charity have gone. Replaced with hate, competition and loathing. Even though I don't like Christmas, it certainly isn't what it used to be.