Thursday 23 December 2010

Christmas crackers: #2.

On the second day of Christmas, your true love gave to you... a post from Jonze’s point of view. Yep, as promised yesterday (and if you weren’t here yesterday, I suggest you read this first), here’s the final part to a lil festive gift in the form of a pair of guest posts from some supremely talented dudes I’m lucky to call mates. Again, do make Ward and Jonze welcome – leave them comments, tell them jokes, inflate their egos, wish them a Merry Christmas... but don’t get too carried away, right? You’ll have me back next week – and, frankly, this is an act I’m not looking forward to following...

Surviving Christmas 2010.

Christmas sucks.
No, wait, hear me out...

See the thing is, when Lisa first asked me to post here on, I leapt at the chance (after discretely pointing out that it was akin to lending her Porsche keys to the town drunk). And then I started thinking about the subject line: Christmas in 2010. Oh crap.

The irony of Christmas these days, now that we're all grown up and paying more attention to credit limits than making sure the chimney is clear on Christmas Eve, is that for the season of goodwill, it has a nasty tendency to bring out the worst in us. We stress, we overspend, we drink too much, we eat too much. We get emotional, we get mercenary, pushy and pissed off. 

It all starts some time in August, when that first overhasty Christmas ad appears on TV. Then we know that just around the corner will be the arguments in the office about who is organising the works do, the awkward dance of sorting out cards and that concluding nerve-shattering moment where we hear "Stop the Cavalry" blaring through the department store PA system and know that the season is unavoidable. Christmas has its fair share of dread even before the Coca-Cola ads start.

And worse still, even the exercise of finding a deeper meaning has its perils. Go on, say the words "The True Meaning of Christmas" out loud. Can you taste the saccharine? No? How about "Festive Cheer"? Or "The Season of Goodwill"? Year after year of having it marketed to us again and again have reduced it all to cliche, a giant sugary bauble of Grinches and Scrooges, of rosacea-plagued reindeer and flying snowmen with choirboys in tow.

For some, the real key to the season is remembering it as a holy time, as about Jesus or Hannukah or whether their faith takes them, which is fine, but that's not everyone. And for those of us leaning more towards Dawkins than the divine, the reminder that we don't get is just another festive irritation to go with the faux tabloid fury at some council putting "Season's Greetings" on a banner. (Eric Pickles, haven't you got more important things to be getting on with?

So here's a suggestion for us all. Why don't we just stop? 

How about, for a few days, all of us agree to just take a breather, to make this season about celebrating the fact that we've all made it to the darkest, crappiest time of the year relatively intact, and just surround ourselves with the people we care about and enjoy life for a bit?

Because, give or take a few days, Christmas is the point in the year when the winter starts to recede, where we've all got a moment given to us to shut down, wait for 30 seconds and restart. And it's the point where we've all got proper, socially sanctioned time to be ourselves, to celebrate our friends and our families, to eat like kings and drink like freshers at an open bar. So forget about shopping stress, stop moaning about how much you hate sprouts (I don't, for the record), forget about the empty Disneyfied Christmas we've been force-fed year on year, and instead just turn down the bullshit for a couple of days.

Smile. We made it. 

And best of all, we've got six months ahead of us where the sun is going to shine a little bit brighter every day. And you'd best enjoy them because those rudely premature Argos ads for Christmas 2011 are coming up fast too.


jenheffa said...

So Jonze, you're suggesting that it's only at Christmas that you overspend, drink and eat too much and get emotional and pissed off...


PS. Great points, well made, merry christmas you old bastard.

Freda said...

Hi Jonze, a very thoughtful post and much of it I can relate to totally. Christmas as we see it in the shops and media tends to be overwhelmingly part of the Winter Solstice festivals of pre-Christian days. And you're right, we need a dose of festive fun and cheer and being with people we care about just to get us through these dark winters. I'm not with Dawkins - being a retired minister, you wouldn't expect it - but I'm not so daft as to believe the stories are historical and accurate. Heck, I've even got a nativity scene with holy cats, holy dogs and a holy elephant. But for me there is truth deep down and it is that truth that has helped to get me through my life. Friends matter too, just like you are Lisa's friends. Glad to know she's got you. Every Blessing

Karen said...

Or as I'm a little late: Smile. It's over!

Great post. Of course, turn down the bullshit could be a good all year round strategy.

I find I can ignore most of the Christmas nonsense - quite easy when you put your mind to it actually.

Hope you got to eat like a king and drink like a fresher (although I prefer a slightly higher quality tipple these days!) x