There’s only one reason the western hemisphere continue to go into meltdown in the latter part of December, because let’s face it, celebrating Christmas has about as much to do with a baby born in a stable, as three wise men turning up to sort out the Eurozone crisis. The acceptable face of conspicuous consumption during these coming weeks is all about getting our nearest and dearest, the youngest of our tribes, used to disappointment. Once that wrapping paper is off, and the harsh reality hits home , we all have to face the uncomfortable truth that none of us ever gets what we really want at Christmas. What do I want? More than anything, I want Santa Claus to give me some energy, so that I can actually manage to finish the shopping , iron a tablecloth, dress a tree as well as myself, and cook perfectly roasted potatoes, listening to my partner hyperventilate because I opened the oven door mid way. But that’s o.k. It is a perfectly valid reason for an ‘off your face’ lunch and a belly busting dinner, and it helps the tots to get used to the fact that hype is exactly what it says on the tin, HYPE. So stop getting in a strop about it, just hunker on down, and face facts. It HAS TO BE DONE. It is only right and proper that we wheel out the old and disgusting relatives, so that young people get used to saggy skin and crows feet and bad temper. We can’t all be Sheryl Crow after all. I am embracing the mistletoe with fervour, in order to embarrass as many of the young men in my household as is possible. They may avoid all attempts at bodily contact for 364 days, but this day will be mine. Ha!!! My good fortune is that all my family are post 16 now, so they already know its a crock of glitter, that bears no resemblance whatsoever to the Christmas paraded across screens and across bill boards, in songs and films. They already know that we’ll be tipsy by one, and then fall asleep in front of the telly watching some re-run , or East Enders. That’s true authentic. Trousers will be undone, there will be an attempt to engage in board games by the more senior guest, and it will be down to me and the dog to walk her home.
So , manage the to-do list bearing the above in mind, who are you trying to please? Like a lot in modern life, we’ve been tricked into a celebration that ends up with little of the original intent .
“Let me tell you the story of a man killed by advertising.” Emile Zola started a short story about a man he called Pierre Landry, written in 1866, the message could not be more appropriate to ourselves. Pierre is blinded by the new exciting advertisements that bombard him, and decides he needs to consume the marvels that are promised within the advertisements. He is gradually overcome by the stresses of his consumption, and is killed by excess. Don’t be fooled into thinking you are immune to the toxicity of the marketing men, their craft is upon us all the time, invisibly, in the films we watch, the radio we hear , the music we play. We all consume, but we don’t all need to die of it, like Pierre. Often it is a dearth of spirituality that creeps upon us, as a result of a continuing engagement with the ‘latest’ , with ‘ the best’. Wordsworth said it centuries ago,
|The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
Like junk food can make us obese, junk thoughts and advertisements can make us moronic. As we walk down the street our eyes scan billboards whose carefully-crafted imagery change us on a subconscious, spiritual level. We are, in a literal way, poisoned each time we see an advertisement and that is the essential danger of a consumer society based upon advertising.