Surrounded by the mayhem of people spending money in desperation to tick the boxes and announce that those glorious words: “I have finished all my Christmas shopping”, when something dawned on me. It is not the nicest thing to day one day before the holiday many people have looked forward to all year but to be brutally honest I realised I like Christmas about as much as I like loosing my ipod.
I looked down at my own list, cursing myself for not getting organised earlier, chewed down hard and repetitively on the gum in my mouth to prevent me from punching a big stand of useless shit. What the heck was I doing there???
It’s not that I don’t like giving presents. I do. I love giving presents. I love the smile and sparkle in the eyes of someone who likes something you have chosen for them. But I don’t like having to buy this present by a certain deadline. It turns a pleasure into a chore.
I feel like I have this big assessment due on the 25th of December. And until I have ticked all my boxes I am afraid that I’ll be up at the midnight mall on Christmas Eve doing a rush job to get it in on time. Am I missing something here?
Sure I could buy gifts throughout the year in preparation. I often do. But the lack-of-patience leads me to give my gift straight away. Then I get to see the smile sooner. And they can enjoy it now. Can someone please explain why I should have to hold onto that present until the anniversary of a consumerised mis-interpreted pagan tradition???
For a second let’s just consider the real meaning of Christmas, the reason our ancestors had a big party on the 25th of December each year, that is: the celebration of the winter solstice. The celebration of the last short day and rebirth of the sun.
I celebrate that too – in JUNE! Here in Australia, the middle of January is our summer solstice – the last of our long days and beginning of shorter ones. If we are going to celebrate Christmas shouldn’t we at least do it at the appropriate time?
When you think about it, Christmas is just another overbearing example of continuing colonialism, Western hypocrisy and chronic consumerist Capitalism on steroids.
“But it’s tradition.”
And now that all my boxes have been ticked I am actually looking forward to it. I am looking forward to dinner at Mums tonight. Amongst the move and my Opa’s death it has been weeks if not months since we have sat down for a relaxed meal together. Now that I think about it I really really really am looking forward to it, and the wonderful fruit-filled breakfast we will have Christmas morning as we laugh and play games and exchange gifts by the tree.
I am looking forward to checking out the Sydney to Hobart boats getting ready down their big race, a burgeoning tradition I do with my sisters, Dad and Stepmom, that nicely breaks up the wonderful food and wine we will enjoy that night with my cousins and grandma and my sister’s fiancee’s family. Those are some pretty special moments – I guess I shouldn’t write-off Christmas altogether.
I wonder, is it possible to enjoy these moments without the chaotic consumerist prelude???
What if next Christmas I buy each of my loved ones a tree to be planted in the Amazon – something that will provide oxygen for them and the generations to come. My friend’s family put their gift money together to sponsor a child for a year. That’s a good one too!
The years come and go so fast I think I’m happy for Christmas to come every 4 years like the Olympics. Last Christmas I was at the top of Machu Picchu and I’m already dreaming of next Christmas – in India. Or China. Or Africa. Somewhere away from the shopping malls and plastic wrapping. I don’t need a pagan tradition to bring me to see my family, nor to give them presents. I do that throughout the year and prefer it that way.
But Christmas is here and I can relax. I too can happily announce “I have finished all my Christmas shopping”! I am ready to enjoy the food and festivities keeping my fingers crossed that when the time comes for plastic wrapping to be unveiled, my gifts deliver a smile.