Tuesday 19 December 2023

Keep Christmas Classy

It’s OK to celebrate Christmas as long as you refer to it ironically as “rampant capitalist excess”. But how do you use the festival to demonstrate your unique wonderfulness?

It’s Aug 1 2023, and Selfridges have opened a Christmas department and the middle classes are furious. They call Christmas “ecksmess” – because it’s tacky, commercialised and starts too early – and think themselves veritable Noel Cowards.

Presents should only be opened after lunch, doing so first thing in the morning is common as it shows a lack of self control. (@archer_rs. As does starting drinking at 11am.)

Christmas can often involve greed and consumerism, not to mention huge waste in plastic packaging, unwanted gifts and food waste.
 (Brighton Journal, 2018. "Consumerism" means other people buying the wrong things.)

A Facebook member explains why she doesn't celebrate Mother’s Day: It’s not just a question of feminism, but of refusing homogenisation. In other words, I don’t want to be festive on command. I prefer to be me and choose if this is something to be celebrated. Well, that’s my opinion. 

Who are these people who must ‘ring the changes’ at Christmas, ditch the boring old traditions for something new and radical? I wish them a merry one, but it baffles me every year. I flinch a bit at design-conscious householders who buy a new set of tree decorations every year (‘our theme is silver and burnt-orange for 2019’ etc). Whaaaaat? No old, scratched family baubles? No wonky toilet-roll angel? Do you not value the past, with all its flawed, naff decisions? (Libby Purves, Mail 2020) 

Other people’s Christmas traditions are duller than their dreams, says Caro Stow-Crat. And they’re always accusing each other of “ruining” Christmas.

Middle-class Upwards would never go on a cheap “break” to a European Christmas market. They started out as an independent, tasteful, handmade alternative to those awful shops with their mass-produced goods, but despite their picturesque atmosphere they’re just as tacky and exploitative. (If you want handmade cribs and baubles, try Etsy – but avoid T shirts with Nazi symbols and death threats aimed at rival political groupings.)

Every year, Upwards moan about what Hell it all is, while magazines and TV programmes tell us how to do the whole thing ourselves in the most ridiculously time-consuming way – embroider your own gift tags! Gather green branches and twigs. Make all your decorations, and a wreath for the front door. Bake your own mince pies, cake and pudding.

This year (2023) the Holier than Thou prize goes to the woman who claims “the best Christmas present is no present”, is not giving anything to any of her family, and claims “my five-year-old is on board”. The original Puritans banned Christmas as pagan. This female is afraid her children will want items that are common, vulgar, flashy and plastic. Plus she’s really, really mean.

So Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly, Rock Around the Christmas Tree, Let It Snow – Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

More here, and links to the rest.