That time of year
Yes, once again the word Christmas is everywhere that its still allowed to be used, and the word “Festive” is being used in most of the rest. Yet so many people seem to find the festive season really difficult to cope with for one reason or another, and often its the family time or the financial stress that makes it worse. So why do we all still bother?
Its the time of year when the highest number of people become homeless, when divorce rates soar and Casualty Departments (Emergency Rooms) are busiest, not least with the number of suicide attempts going on, both the deliberate and the alcohol poisoning varieties. Basically, its a shit time of year.
Except there’s all the parties, special meals, people to see, gifts to give, events to attend. There’s the relief I guess that the year is nearly over. I myself have never seen the New Year (for that too is nearly upon us) as a relief. The bit of me which is always thinking way into the future is usually lamenting the fact that all that has gone before must be undergone again, and then some; my image of 2007 when looking at it from 2006 was pretty awful and gloomy, and while some of that prediction was right, some was wrong. Yet I’m still worried about what 2008 will bring.
Christmas no longer holds the meaning it began with. When I came to University I remember lamenting that Christmas meant stress and madness for a vicarage kid, whilst everyone else around me seemed to be lamenting the arguments their family would have. No one, it seems, is having the ideal Christmas sold to us in adverts, films and culture generally. The effort of celebrating takes its toll, and everyone falls out or winds up too tired to really enjoy it.
I have found myself increasingly wanting to say ‘no’ to different aspects of Christmas. But every time I do this, I just feel like more of a social reject. Perhaps, I begin to wonder, it might just be social pressure that makes everyone (well, specifically the non-Christians) do this every year. But it has to be said that I do have a certain amount of fun ‘doing Christmas’ and that it does provide some of the structure to my year which I find so invaluable. And I suppose we have to start the year somewhere, and it will always be a somewhat notable moment, so why not do something about it.
Maybe for some people, trying a little less hard would make the fun go just that bit further. The amount of money being spent each year is just disgusting, and the amount of credit card debt created is worrying in the extreme. And I do get sick of the show people put on. The festive season should be all about the communities we live in, not the spending power in our wallets, and I’m starting to wonder whether its other people’s excesses which make me find the whole period so repulsive. If so, maybe I should just find my own level and stick with it.
So I suppose maybe Christmas isn’t such a bad thing, and neither is New Year. Yes, society in general handles both really badly, indulging and putting on a fake show, but surely then the challenge is to make something more worthwhile of these two events, to have a real party, to show real values and to be real people, with a real need for rest, relaxation, celebration and a break from monotony. Maybe if I could figure out how to make Christmas and New Year all of those things, then maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all.