When did Christmas get so dull?
It used to be fun to buy kids presents. Now I’m just contributing to their consumerist existence in which we’ve bought children so much stuff they have lost the ability (or never learnt it) to appreciate and get excited. A gift should represent light against the darkness of ‘not-having’ and then ‘having’ and thinking “wow, this is great!”. But there is no ‘not-having’ so ‘having’ is meaningless. It is not about not-having and having – it’s about ‘what do I have?’ – your present is judged, “is this the best present I could have received?”
It used to be fun to have a holiday. But now we’re so exhausted that ‘holiday’ is actually ‘recovery from 2011’ and instead of staying in bed and recovering we commit to 17 parties (because it makes sense to see these people while you’re on holidays so you don’t have to figure out how to fit in catching up with them during the year), spend 250 hours in shops buying things that you don’t want to buy (see first point), and then when we get to Christmas day with our families, everyone’s so tired and grumpy we’re rude to each other and have no resilience against the things about our families that bug us.
It used to be fun to eat Christmas food. But now it’s impossible to ignore how unhealthy it is because we know we have a week to recover before getting back to work and facing the terrifying pile of work you put off until after christmas (because the final two weeks of the year were both the busiest and most unproductive because you spend your whole time at work christmas parties – and even worse, the cursed “we simply must catch up for a drink before Christmas!” drinks. Which makes no sense because Christmas is NOT the armageddon so why don’t we wait until after christmas to catch up?”
Wait – that one started to be about food but I ended up talking about parties. So, Christmas food is unhealthy and because we have to be back at work and starting “2012! Best year ever!” in a matter of weeks, it seems really unwise to put on three kilos and give yourself diabetes – especially because you’ve been eating mince pies for so many weeks now that you don’t even enjoy them anymore. My diary is already full for the first week of January and I don’t have time to see a doctor or a naturopath or a faith healer or whatever, so it seems wise to just steer clear of the christmas food.
Kids stopped being little. Now they are just awkward and boring pre-tweens and don’t make you laugh like they did when they were three and would say something a bit precocious. Even the three year olds don’t make you laugh anymore because you’ve already heard that joke from their older brother when they were three.
UPDATE: Sarah Wilson wrote a nice companion piece to this post in the weekend paper. See it on her blog.