THE SCROOGE IN ME

11 Dec

THE SCROOGE IN ME

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I sort of hate Christmas. That’s what I’ve got in common with Dickens’ Scrooge. He hated Christmas, at least for most of his life, but for different reasons. He hated Christmas because it cost him pennies and made others joyful. I hate Christmas for what it has become.

It’s inevitable, I suppose. Our society puts a price on everything and a cold season that used to be celebrated as the end of one year and the beginning of the next has become an excuse for the rich to becom richer and the poor, poorer. It is almost a given that those with their eye on income should want to nudge the season so that it starts earlier and ends later. And by the same token it must be a given that those with very little should possibly have longer to suffer their poverty whilst enjoying the cringe-worthy sentiment of songs about a baby that probably never was.

When I say that I hate Christmas it’s those two features that I most dislike: the consumerism gone mad and the baby thing. And I don’t hate babies as such – I’m a father and a grandfather, for goodness’ sake. No, I hate this one for being plucked from very old legends and being dumped into a manger in a stable in order to give roots to a rather shaky story. But even that would be okay but for the fact that it is accompanied by what amounts to an order to believe the hogwash.

Give a man a rich and ornate Uniform, call him Bishop or Pope or something equally pompous and people will tend to believe that there must be something in what he says, and what he says is severe and uncompromising: that baby was born as an interaction between God and a young woman via the good offices of an angel, and that has to be true.

Then suggest that everyone should give all the little children gifts because of it (expensive gifts, the more expensive and unaffordable the better) and create a fat saint to supposedly deliver them using an impossible system of reindeer and a single night, shove it down everyone’s throat, and when non-belief starts eating at a Christian psyche it’s the fat saint they stop believing in and not the silly baby. He stays as a trap for future generations.

I’d love it if Christmas could drop the Christ bit and become an honest, heart-warming festival of singing about real things rather than Noels, of partying in genuine friendship groups, really funny smutty jokes that keep you cackling until dawn, relaxation away from work, everything we really want but daren’t say. Oh, and give the kids gifts, but don’t bankrupt yourself buying them – and I don’t necessarily mean something tacky and home-made (we’re not all craftspeople and can’t all whittle a wooden soldier into being).

When I was knee-high to something quite small my favourite Christmas gifts involved Famous Five and Biggles books. I loved them, and although I haunted the Children’s library there was nothing like owning a few myself. I’m not trying to suggest that books would satisfy many children in this hi-tech age in which a screen is an essential part of a toy, but if I’d been a kid nowadays I’d like to think the perfect gift might be a Kindle (other e-readers are available)…

Then I might start loving the season again. Give it a different name, call it something relevant, like the Winter Solstice, strip it of extravagance, and bring real heart-warming joy back into the coldest season. And for goodness’ sake, get rid of those angels – except, maybe, in little nativity fairy-story plays for our tiniest offspring. But put the emphasis on Fairy story. Something they’ll grow out of.

© Peter Rogerson 11.12.14

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2 Responses to “THE SCROOGE IN ME”

  1. pambrittain December 13, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

    My favorite holiday was Thanksgiving, but even that’s ruined now.

    • Peter Rogerson December 14, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

      We don’t have Thanksgiving over here. Maybe we should, though it would go the same way as Christmas, and I doubt there are enough turkeys…

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