"Christmas permits the global bullshit industry to recruit the values with which so many of us would like the festival to be invested – love, warmth, a community of spirit – to the sole end of selling things that no one needs or even wants."
Ah, Christmas. It's less than a month away. There's only 28 days to go (I know this because Ty has got a countdown going and reminds me of the date at breakfast every morning) till the big man plops down our non-existent chimney, and I'm becoming increasingly aware that I'm turning into a grumpy old lady. I'm not looking forward to it; rather; I'm dreading the forced niceties, the obligatory lunch with a number of family members I'd really rather not have anything to do with, the wasted food, the wasted paper, the wasted money... above all, the consumerism.
I never used to be a grinch. I ADORED Christmas when I was younger; not just as a child but throughout my teens, and my twenties. I put my tree up in October because it was so beautiful. I made a special trip to Myer, or Grace Bros as it was then, to walk through their darkened Christmas displays, lit softly with fairy lights, listening to the piped muzak coming through the store sound system.
But I wasn't Christmas shopping: I was Christmas feeling.
I chose to be enveloped in the magic without mindlessly opening my purse.
But it was easier then - my family was much smaller, I was unattached, there was just a handful of gifts I liked to give and they were often handmade or edible.
Nowdays, the impending Christmas season just fills me with anxiety. "Christmas permits the global bullshit industry to recruit the values with which so many of us would like the festival to be invested – love, warmth, a community of spirit – to the sole end of selling things that no one needs or even wants." This was put so succinctly by George Monbiot.
But here's the kicker: shunning consumerism is a two way street. And not only that, but there are other social issues at play that I simply don't know how to manage.
What I mean is this - for at least the last five years, my dad has asked me what I want for Christmas. And for at least the last five years my answer has been 'nothing - thanks anyway, but I'd really rather you didn't give me anything'. My dad, affronted and mildly miffed by what he perceives as this contrary, 'difficult' attitude of mine ('why can't she just enjoy Christmas like the rest of us?'), simply ignores me and buys me a present. Generally a useless, ill-suited, expensive present, which I feel I have to receive graciously, and which then spends the following year in the linen closet in the re-gifting pile till I can find someone to offload it onto.
Why do we have to go through this every year? It upsets me that even when I choose to reduce my own consumption, many of the people I spend Christmas with refuse to. We've talked about it, sure, but now they just see me as the cheapskate, and their behaviour remains the same. Sigh.
Have you had any luck in bringing your family round to a 'spend less, give more' kinda Christmas? I need some pointers. What do I do to get them on board?