THINK TANK | Bah Humbug! Scrooging along this Xmas

WELL CHRISTMAS is coming and the goose is getting decidedly edgy. The stockings and decorations are being dragged out of the loft and Cliff Richard is back on the radio.

I’ve got to say I am really excited as I always am around this time of year. I love Christmas and think its fantastic simply because it stops us all going mad in midwinter and provides us with an amiable time of year to eat, drink and be merry. However there are those amongst you who don’t like Christmas and amid the merry sleigh bells there is always a scrooge to be found, and it is these mean hearted, soulless wretches I wish to talk to you about today.
There are those who object for religious reasons bleating on about how they have no desire to celebrate the birth of some made up hippy who didn’t exist 2000 years ago and to them I simply say ‘well neither does anyone else.’ I’m fairly accurate that in saying for most people Christmas failed to be about ‘you know who’ a few hundred years ago around the same time that Easter became about chocolate eggs and this trend will continue slowly until good old Jebus is nothing more than an unfunny joke that we’re all ashamed of but importantly Christmas itself wont stop and its key meaning of friendship and family will remain cast in iron. Now those of you who know me well will probably know I’m about as anti religion as its possible to be without actually planning to napalm Vatican City or kidnap the archbishop of Canterbury, seriously this is the only time ever I have written the word ’Christmas’ on anything… I’m not kidding, since I was about 15 I have always referred to it as ‘Xmas’ wherever possible in some strained attempt to get the named changed to remove religious significance but of course I respect everyone’s rights and what works me doesn’t work for others and that’s all good.
Then there are those of you who insist on repeating the same borrowed argument every year in which they state (usually in monotone) that they hate Xmas because its all about money and advertising and forcing you to spend more and more in order to gain a feeling of adequacy and avoid a feeling of guilt at the inexpensive gift that you choose to be this years token of love to your girlfriend/mother/sibling or whatever. The important thing is the thought not the price and I really cannot stress this enough to you. If you find the perfect present for someone for a pound then that is worth the same as buying that present for a thousand pounds, in fact in some ways its better.
My entire family are poor as Concorde pilots and dodo farmers which means I never get very much for Xmas but I still love it dearly and relish any chance to be in the same room as my family for the day and cannot stand anyone whose whinging would take any of the shine off this. The people who spout these Ebernezian drudgeries about crass commercialism are often the type of people who mistakenly believe apathy is the height of fashion. I know that to the world at large being happy and open hasn’t been in vogue since the 1970’s and the hippy movement but its Christmas for God’s sake! Are you telling me you’re ‘over’ Christmas?! Obviously it’s not Christmas you object to but shopping and crass commercialism then isn’t it? Well bah humbug to you my friend because everyone hates feeling like they’re stuck between the pages of an Argos catalogue whenever they turn on their TV or set foot out of their door but they don’t let it get them down.
If you hate something the worst thing you can do is to let it get to you, rise above the raging torrent of shite aimed at you by the advertising companies and make Christmas your own. What really infuriates me is that these ‘haters’ of commercialism are would probably be quite happy to spout this nonsense whilst chugging down handfuls of big Mac washed down with a Starbucks coffee but they don’t see any need to complain at any other time of the year! Are they serious! Have you been on the London underground or turned on a television at any point this year?* but I digress.
*I dislike blanket advertising intensely preferring that my mind was my own but I understand that advertising itself is a fantastic idea gotten totally out of hand.
Think of all those people forced to spend Christmas alone or in nursing homes, or be ridden in hospitals. Seriously think about it for a minute because every time I try to imagine Christmas without my family I get a huge mental and emotional block and it simply feels like I’ve stepped off the edge of the world! Really think about it for a minute and maybe you’ll gain a new appreciation for a day spent with your daft old aunt who smells like cabbages and still gets your name wrong. Misery may love company but no one should be alone on Christmas day.
A couple of years back I took a 28 year old Chinese undergraduate student I was living with to Christmas with my family because I could not stand the idea of him being alone in our flat on that day. I know it’s not like he’d ever celebrated Christmas before and therefore not likely to miss it and he did spend a fair portion of it ogling my cousin’s breasts but I think that if you’re over here to experience this country then you deserve to have a Christmas and by the end of the day he was in tears of pure joy as he was accepted into the family and showered with presents, an event that made us closer as a family and allowed a 28 year old man one of the most crazy and memorable days of his life. If that’s not worth celebrating then I don’t know what is. In fact in order to bring a little extra cheer to the holidays this year I am going to have Xmas day with my family and then another Xmas with my friends and their friends a few days later simply because I don’t think that you can ever have enough good times and at this time of year my cup runneth over with good tidings to my fellow man – unless of course they happen to dislike Christmas.
So by all means celebrate in your own way whether it’s grandiose or as simple as seeing the family for a day but do celebrate in some way and don’t let what is supposed to be a happy time pass idle. Above all don’t let it be just another day.

Although this might be taking things just a little too far.

words by Matt


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