Being one of those entirely disreputable and untrustworthy types who doesn’t believe in omnipotent, vengeful, invisible people in the sky, the prospect of Christmas drawing ever nearer is not one which fills me with joy. Another December where I spend a disproportionate amount of time re-explaining to people – folks who also heard this a year ago – that I don’t celebrate Christmas, send cards, buy presents or participate in the festive season.
At a push, I’ll have an internal appreciation of colours, lights and decorations. There’s something slightly pagan about those aspects of the Christmas holiday which transcends the virulent commercialism, high pressure selling tactics and hypocritical religious sentiments that so irritate me about that time of year. That the nicest colours and lights of the season are to be found in commercial institutions like the department stores and malls is an irony not lost on me – if you want your pretty-pretty lights, you’ve got to have to deal with margin-conscious, sales-hungry store staff trying their hardest to get you to buy something, buy anything, buy – buy – buy!
The transition towards not celebrating Christmas is a lot easier for me, I realise, as I’m not a parent. I don’t have children and I don’t have to try to explain why their friends are celebrating a holiday which they don’t and why they are different to their friends. All that I have to do is get up on December 25th, take my lovely dog for a walk, help Mrs Rolling Eyeballs to make lunch and enjoy my Christmas “Doctor Who” without any of the pressure.
It’s a lot easier to enjoy the end of the year when you don’t have to run around like decapitated poultry for a month buying lots of things for people who don’t appreciate it, going to parties that you don’t want to go to and putting yourself in financial dire straits until the Spring – is any of that stuff worth it? Sustaining an economy based on unreasonable, profligate spending which is induced by guilt, advertising and the fear of disapproval by your peers is no way to live a life, surely?