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24 December, 2004

Okay, okay: happy christmas

Last night I was a little shamed by the realisation that although I don't like christmas, other adults, such as Alizon, actually do.  I knew that intellectually, of course, but somehow hadn't really assimilated or understood the fact until Alizon and Andy called round to exchange presents.  Al isn't ostensibly religious (not that traditional religion has anything at all to do with christmas as experienced  by anyone I know), she just likes the experience itself, glitter, artifice and all.  I now realise she really likes it, as revealed by the extra effort she put into my present.

We each gave presents the other had requested, but the discrepancy was in packaging. I'd used decent wrapping paper and sellotape, labeled with a marker pen, but Alizon's wrapping extended to fancy ribbon sealed with a chocolate coin and a separate label. I imagine she spent an entire evening wrapping presents; I took ten minutes. In addition to the main present, there was also a gift bag (i.e. the type of bag bought specially, from a greetings card shop) containing tiny slices of chocolate-coated christmas cake. Thanks, Al!

I can report that this year I sent two christmas cards and one e-card, solely in situations where it would have been awkward not to exchange cards. Whereas I used generic Woolworths 20-for-£5 cards left over from last year, so tacky they were thankfully considered 'ironic' (I won't do that again), Alizon, Andy, the cats and the snake gave me a card showing an attractive, suitably secular Alpine view, which by trying too hard to avoid saying so, plainly supports a charity. In short, a 'grown-up' card in return for an empty gesture.

As I've said repeatedly, I consider christmas to be utterly vacuous, to be endured or avoided, and loathed whilst doing so, but I hope that doesn't diminish the enjoyment of others - the loathing is inward, not advertised in the presence of the less cynical. To persistently mock an experience someone enjoys gives the erroneous impression of mocking the person. Alizon does know I'm definitely not a christmas person, but not the extent to which the whole fake experience depresses me - apart from here in the blog, I'm discreet about it.

So, whatever you celebrate, so long as you do celebrate rather than merely obey social convention, enjoy it.


Indeed, I heartily concur. However, in the spirit of goodwill to all men (and women!) rather than Bah! Humbug! I wish you all the very best for the season...and for the rest of the year too :)

Posted by Lynn at December 24, 2004 09:25 PM
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