As I walk around the shops today, and here's what I saw: tinsel, Santas, conifers. Here's what I heard: Rockin Around the Christmas Tree, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, a melancholy song about a deer with a coke habit. Here's what I didn't see: anyone complaining. However, as this blogger points out, some people are still convinced there is a war on Christmas If truth be told, Christmas is at war with us. From Thanksgiving to Boxing Day, there is no escape from the barrage of mulled wine, elves and people leaving office parties wearing their trousers back to front. As for the shopping duties entailed, well, "Christmas shopping: the conversion of one's indifference to people into active hatred".
Cliff Richard and Christmas: a painful combination
One aspect of Christmas I'd gladly have a war with: the music - anything featuring an expression of seasonal cheer or sleigh bells or robin redbreasts or swaddling clothes, I recommend total destruction. Cliff Richard, the high priest of Christmas schmaltz, should be gently lain athwart a Yule log and burnt by rosy-cheeked children. Actually, I would gladly open a second front and extend my war to carols - any song that has 'ding, dong' in the title should be in the Eurovision song contest, not a paean to the mythical Christ child.
Bach's Christmas Oratorio and The Messiah can stay - for now. But the Hallelujah Chorus - sorry, people, it will accompany the Cliff Richard boring stuff to the song mortuary.
"So what's killing Christmas"
It's not just the economic chill that's dampened spirits this year. but going in search of festive cheer - and failing to find much of it.
If we're being honest, only the young look forward to Christmas any more. For the rest of us, it's an endless round of boozing, bingeing and fake jollity with your in-laws. But we find ways to cope, with sex, alcohol and arguing being the most popular pressure valves.
'The only merry soul this Christmas is the ghost of Cromwell past…'Oliver Cromwell my fav-deliver us from Royalty'
One in four, we are informed, spread a little love at this time of year by staggering from the office party to have sex in a car park.
Fortunes - some AU$40 billion in Strayer- are frittered on Christmas fripperies from such temples of spiritualism as Oddbins and the day we actually mark the Mythical birth of Jesus is likely to pass in a sozzled, bloated blur watching Penelope Keith on telly (or is that Her Majesty?), before ending in some fantastic, plum-pud-throwing family bust-up.
But this year, no one has much energy for this terrific Christmas entertainment: where's the spirit? My self well I am too knackered to to throw my keys on the table, and younger women get better looking as we that grow old become older, but being on a diet doesn't mean I can't look at the Menu.
Christmas starts later every year. At the risk of talking ourselves up, the Family normally have a Living room festooned with Christmas cards and invitations.
This year I don't think we've even received "seasonal greetings" - ie, appeals for trade - from an estate agent, pest control officer or local undertaker.
Unless you count flu, like what I have right now(Or a bug I caught cutting grass on Tuesday last), nobody has the Christmas bug; no one is even roused to mutter bah humbug. But make no mistake, Christmas traditions are on the wane: very few plan to put coins in their Xmas pudding.
Our festive depression is caused in part by the economic cold front moving in with record debt, but this year retailers are talking big, big falls: the worst Christmas trade for a quarter of a century, money worries are reducing fun. Even the Windsors are feeling the pinch, I am downloading about 5% of our gross annual income in order to cover the costs of pressies to children and food of which a lot of it will go to waste
Contrary to what has rapidly become popular mythology, there is no Muslim terror plot against Christmas. tune into Bahrain radio and you will hear O Come, All Ye Faithful In Arabic.
Sure, many are not putting up Christmas decorations for fear of causing religious offence, but would anyone actually be offended by them?
Nativity plays - only a small percentage of schools are staging them - or the drowning of their Christian message in a soggy sea of multi-faith. Far from being driven by followers of other religions, this apology for Christmas springs from within our timid Christian community.
And not sending Christmas crackers (Bon Bons) to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan because they were "too dangerous". The Brits send troops in faulty armour to face Taliban gunpowder, yet can't let them face the death alley that is a cracker and a silly joke from Woolworths.
But there is, surely, a deeper cultural shift. Puritanism did not die with Cromwell.
Our history since can be seen as a continuing battle between Roundheads and Cavaliers, between those who can't really be doing with fun and those who refuse to equate pleasure with wickedness.
The message is: don't drink or eat as you will turn into a fat alcoholic. Don't take your children to see Father Christmas as he's almost certainly on a *government register, and as for his reindeer…
How can you enjoy Christmas when the world is snowed in with sadness?
And it is indeed terrible. Millions starve as we eat.
Christmas has become like any other time. The plum pud is shorn of treasure. The lights aren't twinkling. Even the car parks at night are eerily quiet. It seems the only merry soul this Christmas is the ghost of Christmas past…
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