Friday, 8 January 2010

Snippet - Christmas


The time of year when shiny tinsel is acceptable, when it is deemed impolite not to accost perfect strangers in the street and when the excuse of festive cheer is used for drunkenness, debauchery and the down right ridiculous. For 3 weeks of the year Cliff Richard with his Wine and his Mistletoe is played in stores and on radio stations which for the rest of the year shun him in proud public fashion. Yoko is forgiven as she joins John in their little Christmas ditty and a drunken Irish fool with horrific teeth is revered as a lyrical festive God.

Shoppers (usually calm and collected and often avoiding of the high streets) turn into scary 3 for 2 bargain hunting monsters with their eye only on the prize of buying as many useless gifts for as little as possible. Such shoppers who feel that a multi-tool from Boots, that also acts as a radio alarm clock and which also niftily folds to the size of a 50 pence piece, is ever going to be taken out of the festively designed wrapper. And then you have the shoppers who never leave the house, who refuse to entertain the idea of Christmas. They would rather claim Amazon’s free delivery by buying all their gifts at one online store, in fifteen minutes and with as little thought and effort as possible. Those are the shoppers who deserve to be in the ‘only if I have time at the end of my shift’ section of Santa’s delivery list.

Families both distant and local make an effort to see each other; make the effort to smile even though it is guaranteed that one brother in law secretly hates the second cousins wife. Everyone comes together under a banner of red and gold, surrounded by the fog of singed credit cards. It’s bliss. It’s bliss for the 5 hours that everyone is together until they separate after the evening bits and bobs buffet and proceed to moan all the way home. Did you see Meredith’s hair? I knew that marriage wouldn’t last a year. You’d have thought they’d have put on a better spread. Your Gerald didn’t get us a present this year, I hope he feels awful once he opens his Wedgwood decanters we got in last January’s Christmas sales. And so on and so forth until the end of time…

But despite the tat, the tantrums and the tricky to buy for relatives; Christmas is a time to look forward to. People wish each other a Merry Christmas, husbands panic good-naturedly as they realise that they haven’t listened to any of the helpful hints provided all year and children get randomly excited at the sight of snow, Rudolf and a jolly fat man. But most importantly at Christmas time we kiss and hug and smile without ever really needing a reason to. We whistle our jaunty tunes, we snow ball fight despite the cold and we laugh.

It is often forgotten that Christmas is a time for great laughter and we only really remember once December arrives and we finally let go of the trials that have tested us for eleven not so enticing months. Christmas is the time for hope, for love, for giving and for our soldiers who for a brief time in history lay down their arms to take a moment’s pause. Christmas has the power to cleanse our souls if we let it.

And who cares that come January first we are back to our resolutions of deprivation; Christmas was designed for gluttony so enjoy it while you can.

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