Christmas is not a new idea. The Romans held celebratory winter feasts and gave each other gifts 2,000 years ago. Hanukkah is a celebration of a victorious battle over 2,100 years ago. Ramadan marks the month that the prophet Mohammed had the holy book revealed to him by God. Other cultures, such as the Chinese, celebrate the new year, light, colour, love, life. Many of the religious elements of modern Christmas, particularly in the West, have been forgotten. So what does Christmas mean?
- Christmas is largely a commercial enterprise forced on us by our corporate overlords. If this Christmas was to book-note this fascinating year, it’d be revealed Father Christmas likely touched kids and that the £45 lamb shank you bought is infested with worms that’ll crawl out of your arse-cheeks on Boxing day.
- Christmas is a loving, slapping reminder that another year has passed. Three-hundred and sixty five days of your life and you might not have achieved anything since last Christmas. The world has gone backwards, the youths aren’t what they used to be, and another post office has closed in town. It might’ve seemed a terrible year, but you must remember that you’re still here, we’re all still here, blinking and moist, like spongy chocolate pudding ready to be pounded for the next three-hundred and sixty five days.
- Christmas is to eat your turkey and your pig and your cow and your salmon, there’s plenty to go around, that’s what I say. Turkeys grow on trees and cows definitely do not shit out planet-ending chemicals. Salmon were designed to be farmed, and pigs are just thick. If you get the chance wrap all your animals up together, or stuff another bird inside the bird you already have. Eating two animals at once is inevitably better than eating just one.
- Christmas is to buy each other presents, but make sure you make a comprehensive list with the price of each item until you have exactly £100 spent, no more, no less, because, damn it, I won’t ruin the spirit of Christmas by giving you something I put any thought into whatsoever, or getting you some shoes three sizes too big, or some trousers you’ll never wear, the simpler the better, some wrapping paper from Poundland and a card you found in the draw and tippexed over the old name. Your ex-wife. Fuck her.
- Christmas is to stare out of the window and wonder why there’s no snow. There always used to be snow. Why isn’t there any snow? It just isn’t Christmas without snow, you say as you turn on the television, the kettle, the radiator, the Christmas lights, the oven, the games console, your laptop, your phone charger, then pop in the car to get some more Doritos and an extra steak because Granddad says he’s just flying home early for Christmas, and you realise that you forgot the bacon so you pop to the supermarket in your 4×4 and you must absolutely make sure that you buy organic bacon because it’s so terribly important that those pigs have a nice time before you ingest their stomachs. When you get home you sit down, put your feet up and have a little snooze with the television on, drifting off wondering why, oh why, there’s never any snow at Christmas anymore.
- Christmas is to be content with your family and play some games and laugh and gamble sometimes. Christmas has never been spoiled by violence, anger or jealously. These are emotions that can’t exist at Christmas because they go against the true values of the festive season, which include drinking yourself into a numb stupor so that you can forget the horrible year that preceded this special day.
- Christmas is to remember those across the planet that have suffered immeasurably more than you. Like the little boys and girls that stitched your shoes together, or the endless locals and natives that watched their homes be destroyed so that you could have that particularly lovely smelling shampoo, or the countless families ravaged by the indiscriminate bombs dropped by the government of your country, a war affirmed by the glowing monarch, who on Christmas day speaks to a million turned ears of a people subdued, dumbfounded, confused. Christmas is to remember the suffering to come, she reminds you.
- Christmas is to take one moment during your day, between the champagne cocktails and nibbles, to remember there are uncountable others to whom Christmas is simply a day when the pressures of society bear down on them more unbearably than any other day. Christmas is a lonely time for the lonely.
- Christmas is to remember all this, all that pain, and turn to your loved ones, if they be loved in even the slightest, most random way, like the postman, the cat, the shopkeeper, and say to them, “Yes, you’re alright, I hope you have a very merry Christmas and a happy, happy New Year.”