In the interest of not leaving my blog page blank, here’s a video I made in the Christmas period.
Started at 11pm. Took an hour to unbox everything I had ordered online. Then 4 and a half hours of wrapping. With work the next day. But it’s something we have to do, the gift giving and the wrapping of gifts; it’s something which is considered a “norm” in the dreaded Christmas season so every year I am faced with the same choices:
- Buy no gifts for anyone. Everyone gets annoyed at me. Get called The Grinch or Scrooge.
- Buy cheap gifts for everyone that they won’t actually like that will just become clutter and eventually on eBay or in the bin.
- Buy good (coincidentally more expensive) gifts for everyone then everyone’s happy except my bank account.
It’s a struggle I’m faced with every year so when I’m “The Grinch” around Christmas, it’s because I am emptying my bank account out of necessity or expectation.
But then I sit here and question, what would life be like without Christmas? What if there was no gift giving, no Christmas dinner and more importantly no bank holiday? On one hand you could say if Christmas was never a thing and you didn’t know about it then you wouldn’t miss it. On the other hand you could say without Christmas, there wouldn’t be a significant single day of the year for everyone to look forward to together. Easter? No. Easter is there for families to go on extortionate holidays in the Spring. New Year’s Eve? What are you actually celebrating on New Year’s Eve? That you survived another year? Thanksgiving? I’m not American.
So there is significance to Christmas, I can admit that. Ignoring it’s religious connections, it’s a day where people are encouraged to come together, and in the cold winter weather, actually stay indoors with each other. And so why the gifts? Is it just an excuse to see each other? Is it a way to show that you were thoughtful enough to give them a gift? Even if it’s a box of Celebrations from Tesco that you bought in bulk. Or is it just something to look forward to?
And what about “Christmas Dinner”? I personally enjoy Christmas dinner. The pigs in blankets and stuffing is pretty much all I’m after. And yet it’s “weird” to have pigs in blankets at any other time of the year. Pigs in blankets have somehow become a “Christmas thing”. It’s food, that’s like saying you can only have pancakes on pancake day or you can only have Sunday roasts on Sundays. No. You can have food whenever you want. If I want to eat a English breakfast fry-up for dinner, there’s nothing stopping me. The same way that there’s nothing stopping me from having pigs in blankets in June. But then the idea of Christmas having the exclusive rights of foods like pigs in blankets helps encourage the idea that it’s just another thing to look forward to.
Let’s of course take a moment to think about those who can’t afford Christmas or have families to spend Christmas with. And here comes the “Christmas miracles”, the “magic”, the “Christmas spirit”. With the forced thought of giving and family and unity creeping into our minds, people suddenly start being less selfish and look to being more charitable. And with that, people try to ensure that everyone is having a nice Christmas. But as soon as the Christmas period is over, it’s back to forgetting that these people exist.
So what is Christmas? Why do we continue to celebrate it if all it does is cost us money we could be spending on more important things? Why is it important to have Christmas to look forward to? Why can’t we be charitable at all times of the year? Well, for most of us, the rest of the year is a struggle. We work to earn money to spend on travel and food and rent with the ongoing struggle to save for things we can’t afford in a bleak never ending cycle until we hit the age of retirement. We can’t constantly be charitable, nor can we constantly buy gifts for our loved ones and friends because essentially, we’ve got our own lives to keep afloat. For the rest of the year, with the world we live in, we just have to be selfish, because it’s hard enough to look after yourself and those immediately close to you so you have to block out the needs of others in the interest of simply surviving. And maybe that is why Christmas exists. Because it’s the one time of year that everyone is being nice, being selfless, so maybe it’s the one time of year that you should do the same.
Do I hate Christmas? Essentially, yes. But I can admit the world would be even worse without it and so whilst it does exist, you might as well lean into the slide. I’ve rambled enough now.