So This Is Christmas… And What Have You Done?
We’re a few weeks out and it’s already begun.
People are driving like jackasses, car parks have become unruly concrete jungles filled with two-legged hyenas and supermarkets and shopping malls feel like overcrowded watering holes after a drought.
Can we all please pause for a moment and remember what this time of year is supposed to be about?
Actually, scrap that… let’s first take a moment to reflect on what this time of year has become!
Money, money, money!
Stressed out people everywhere, chewing their nails and tearing out their hair wondering how on earth they’ll be able to show how much they love and respect people by how much they whack on their credit card in the name of goodwill at Christmas.
Or, worse still, people running themselves into debt because they fear they’ll be judged by the size of their presents.
I don’t know about you, but I’m seeing way too many people carrying way too much anxiety, feeling they have to spend time with people they don’t really want to see, and shell out way too much cash on people they don’t really want to gift with commercialised crap they don’t really need.
This time of year – whatever your personal beliefs lead you to call it – shouldn’t be about stress, mounting debts and drowning in alcohol, should it?
Let’s take a moment to think about the environment too. All those ‘amusing’ Christmas gifts that fill the shops every year. You know the ones – roulette drinking games, wind-up racing grannies, plastic reindeer that ‘poop’ chocolates – endless supplies of tacky products that are only ever amusing after too many eggnogs on the big day and then end up in landfill.
Did you really think your cousin would want a set of solstice-themed ‘one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor’ shot glasses?
That’s the really sad thing, isn’t it? The aisles and aisles of ‘Chrimbocrap’ have only become a thing because there are people on our obligatory Christmas gift lists that we don’t really know that well.
We have no idea what they might like, but we can’t own up to that in case it makes us sound uncaring, and we can’t possibly not buy for them because we’ll look mean, so we resort to buying them something ‘funny’ and ‘Christmassy’.
In a few generations’ time when our children’s children are having to clean up the environmental shitstorm we’ve left for them, thanks to all our unwanted plastics and non-biodegradable waste materials, do you think they’ll still find that battery-operated singing Christmas poop emoji ‘funny’?
I’m sorry. Am I spoiling your Christmas fun?
Newsflash people… you scratch the surface a little bit and you might find you’re not having fun at all.
You might find you’re trapped on a commercial treadmill that’s conveniently tricked everyone into shelling out thousands of dollars on tat people neither want nor need. If you’re really, really honest, you might realise that you’re not the only person who gets home at the end of the holidays, dumps that bag of unwrapped tack in the hall and sighs: “What are we going to do with all this junk?”
If this really is the season of goodwill, shouldn’t we be doing something good with it?
What if we had an open and honest with our families about what they really wanted and, if they didn’t need anything, either agree to stop maxing out our credit cards for the hell of it or, maybe, dedicating a gift in our loved ones’ names to a cause that really does need help. Make a donation to a charity, maybe? Sponsor an animal? Send some goods out for homeless people, or those affected by war or famine?
I’m not telling you to stop spending. I’m urging you to spend within your means AND on things that will make a difference. Maybe that cousin actually needed some new socks instead of those shot glasses… sure, socks might feel like a boring gift, but it’s not about YOU, it’s about THEM.
Or, what about this? If you really don’t know those extended family members, why are you buying gifts in the first place? Have a grown-up conversation as a family. The cycle of supermarket tat-buying isn’t helping anyone other than the fat cat mega corporates, is it?
If that’s really a step too far, how about buying locally, from independent stores, or from crafts people who create beautiful hand-made gifts? Try Etsy, for instance. It’ll be something really individual AND by buying from an indie trader you’ll be directly contributing to their Christmas dinner, or maybe helping them to buy their kids new shoes.
Here’s a novel idea… you could even make something yourself! That’s really pouring some love and attention into your gifts.
Christmas tipple time
Let’s move on from money and go to booze, shall we?
Do we really, really need to drown our sorrows at Christmas? Do we need to get sozzled? Why can we not find some balance between getting ‘merry’ and totally soaked?
I’m not a party pooper – I promise. I just think we need to rediscover our balance a little. If we feel we ‘need’ a drink in order to survive the holidays there’s something wrong, isn’t there?
If we need alcoholic lubrication in order to let our hair down and de-stress, we need to look at that. After all, alcohol is actually a depressant, so it ain’t gonna help us in the long run. Find your level. Do you fancy the taste of that sherry, or do you need it? Be honest with yourself, at least.
Pressure, pressure everywhere
I could go on… the sugar, the lard, the overindulgence… we need to take a long, hard look at what it is we’re trying to escape with our frivolities.
I reckon there’s too much pressure to conform – to PERform – at Christmas. There’s too much pressure to be happy and joyful. That’s why so many are plastering on fake smiles and reaching for the grog. There’s too much pressure to BE someone we’re NOT. And that, for me, is why we need to take a good look at this melting pot we’re all doggy-paddling in and get back to a place where we can actually enjoy the season instead of stressing through it.
That’s enough humbugging for now. I’m off to order my groceries online… it’s the only way to avoid the crazies caught in the Christmas lights, stressing over parking spaces and grabbing that last pack of whiskey licquers, Lynx deodorant sets and plastic farting santas to fill up those giant, over-sized stockings they bought for everyone.
Until next time,