Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The assault on Christmas

I am wondering if the news can get any more dumbed-down than it is. The Six O'Clock News on BBC1 in particular appears to be turning into more of a magazine show rather than a serious news bulletin. Tonight's stories included that ridiculous decision by Radio 1 to censor the words to the Christmas song Fairytale of New York as 'sung ' by Kirsty MacColl and the Pogues as the word 'faggot' was deemed to be offensive. As this song has been wheeled out and played ad nauseam at successive Christmases for what seems like years, why should it suddenly cause offence in 2007? It seems to me that there must be a whole army of people out there just waiting to be 'offended' by one thing or another.

To me it also seems another assault on Christmas, which is attacked in almost every quarter. I really don't understand why these days more often than not I see 'Seasons Greetings' rather than Merry or Happy Christmas. Seasons greetings to me is a silly phrase with no meaning to it. Why can't we just say Happy Christmas?

Then it seems to me that any meaning to Christmas itself has long been eroded. I know, there is an argument as to whether the Christian meaning to Christmas is the right one and after all the day is a pagan festival originally, isn't it? Does it matter? Our society was at least founded on the Christian church and its traditions and festivities and if we are to disregard the story of Jesus then should we be celebrating Christmas at all?

I do wonder though how many people actually celebrate or enjoy Christmas. It seems that most people look at Christmas with such heavy expectations that they are always going to be disappointed. Furthermore we are attacked from all sides by reports about how much we're going to spend and thus be in debt next year, how unhealthy the traditional roast dinner is and if that isn't bad enough we are constantly reminded of how guilty we should feel because some people are going to be on their own this Christmas or not having such a jolly time. Yes, Christmas is a time of crisis and misery for some and I think that partly that is driven by the expectations that we all have of what it should be like.

As an adult one Christmas is pretty much like the last. I don't get excited or even particularly look forward to Christmas anymore and I find the post-festive period one of normally dark moods and regret. Not that I dislike Christmas, on the contrary, I always enjoy myself and yes I do over indulge but then it is only once a year. It is the relentlessness of it all that makes me feel unhappy post-Christmas. No sooner have we had the day itself, then it is over it seems according to everyone who scrambles out to the shops on Boxing Day. Then there is all the build up to New Year and of course we must all be excited and happy about this and going out and getting drunk.

I am not a misery or a scrooge, honestly I am not! I just want to do my own thing. I want to take the time between Christmas and New Year to reflect, to think about the year gone by and look ahead, make plans. I don't want to be hurried along in the post-festive consumer panic or feel that I must embroil myself in the falseness of New Year. I just want to do my own thing, be with my family, unwind, rest and frankly forget about the world out there. Is that so terrible? I really tire of the constant feeling that just because everyone else feels that life has to be lived at a brake-neck speed that I should be the same. Unlike many people, I will enjoy my Christmas because there will be no pressure of expectations and no rush to see it through.


jamie said...

just wait til you've got kids,then you'll be singing a different tune,or the same tune just louder.
and another thing that'll make your blood boil... in tescos,next to the christmas cards,they've got 'happy new year' cards.

Carla said...

I like having a few days off, but other than that everything about Christmas is pants. Ha!

Now about this Fairytale of New York song. I had never heard it until I moved here and I think it is awful, regardless of its use of the word faggot. What a dreadful song. And what an unattractive human being that Pogue fellow is. Ick.