When it comes to christmas, i am neither scrooge or santa. I must confess to a little scepticism about the whole gig - where the food is as ersatz and sugary as the sentiment. However, there's no denying christmas is a useful social convention - an encouragement of jollity in the depth of coldest winter, albeit somewhat tainted by the capital-friendly clamour for present-giving oneupmanship on the one hand, and the intellectual retardation of the story of christ on the other; ultimately, the reality of xmas is most affirmed by the strained poignancy of childhood memories and hand-me down atavism as represented by christmas, 'winterval', saturnalia, or what ever the jesus you want to call it.
For a unmarried, twenty-something 'professional' (i.e. i have a job that pays my rent), christmas is now an interregnum between childhood and potential childbearing: christmas ultimately only matters if you are a kid, or you have kids. The excitement that a child feels at the approach of christmas day is only replicable in a adulthood by the use of cocaine, blackjack and hookers. As a parent, there is the vicarious joy and pride in seeing your children rip the wrapper off the little novelties under the tree that could only be equalled by witnessing them giving a wedgie to the local school bully.
But nevertheless, for the floundering single twenty-something, christmas represents a nice retreat from social and professional woes and worries. A time with family, away from the neuroses and constant self-examination that comes from always comparing your lot with that of your peers. With your family, it's rare that anyone's problems match; therefore, one can offer sympathy, without the burden of full-blown empathy. The problems of my 90 year old grandmother are unlikely to tally with mine; I can reflect on her problems, without forever referencing my own experiences, which is what i'm reduced to when friends come to me with problems (they call such advice 'the benefit of experience', but that is a misnomer in my case; i should know, I have to live with them). And, perhaps, most selfishly and pertinently, I'll never worry that her worries are more glamorous and interesting than mine.
Christmas is a time of excess for many; drink, eat and be merry, for tomorrow we die, as the old saying goes (or at least it did, until the early onset of diabetes and heart problems.) People say they do this, because christmas is the only time of the year they hang with family and friends; christ, who do you hang around with the rest of the year? Embittered traffic wardens?
Christmas is the one time of the year I don't view through the bottom of a bottle. You may be my friend, and you might like to drink, that can wait till I'm back in the new year. I will be in the abstemious womb-like atmosphere of the remaining stump of my family. Christmas, for me, is not the time of year for excess; the rest of the calendar is.
peace on earth, and a half of mild, please santa.
merry fucken xmas. x