Call it what you will…the festive fall out…the season of ill will.
The ancient pagan festival borrowed by the Christian ruling classes, beautifully wrapped in H.A Rrods’ or WH Smith or Tesco or Sainsbury paper, and hung on a Victorian tree imported from a timeless enemy state, the descendants of which now act as our figureheads, whilst extolling the merits of pillaging the countryside with hounds and guns for food and ‘jolly good sport’, to see them through the winter… which brings us neatly back to the ancient pagan festival.
And so this is Christmas, a totally un-natural man made holiday that we all start dreading from the middle of September, the temperature oddly soaring into the low eighties as we experience what is fast becoming a familiar Indian summer. The latest designer tinsel sprouting like a harvest festival on perfume and toy counters throughout the land.
The panic button is duly pressed. We race like lemmings to fill woolly tartan stockings with even uglier woolly tartan socks. It is a well known fact that if you were to objectively lay out all the special little goodies you have purchased to delight those nearest and dearest, you would be appalled.
Not only are they perfectly hideous (there is definitely a direct link between Christmas shopping and lack of taste), but you are already worrying about how you are going to pay off your credit card… and you haven’t even started on the food yet.
And we all do it don’t we? You know what I’m talking about. We promise ourselves every year that we won’t, but we do. Remember telling yourself that this year you were going to just buy one present for each person? A treasure they would love. Something you had taken the time to think about and lovingly source. Something that would make their eyes light up with pleasure and surprised delight, causing you to be suffused with a warm self satisfied glow of fulfilment.
And then what happens?
The wrapping paper conspiracy.
Have you noticed that when you buy that one special gift for each person it is perfect, but the minute you wrap it, it doesn’t look half as good as the one special gift that you bought for the next person. It either looks too small or not solid enough, or… lets face it… not expensive enough.
Who or what is behind the wrapping paper conspiracy? It could of course just be the paper companies boosting their fourth quarter profits or the perfume industry striving to make the ultimate packaging style statement.
But hold on… the whole campaign is too orderly, too orchestrated, too subversive. Surely It has to be a capitalistic global plot masterminded by governments and credit card companies bent on beating recession by encouraging maximum consumer consumption over a minimal time scale, thus distorting the West’s GDP figures and making them look good? ‘Them’ being the governments, the credit card companies (The Banks) or the West’s’ GDP figures… your choice.
Well who would believe that wrapping paper companies or fashion gurus’ care that much about looking good? OK possibly the fashion gurus.
So having rebelliously decided that this years’ Christmas theme is to be ‘Bollywood’, you duly set about purchasing every piece of cerise and gold foil paper available in your limited market place. Bearing in mind you do not do ‘Out of local high street experiences’ after November, this in itself is quite a challenge.
Luckily every high street has one, the c**p shop, otherwise known as the discount store and you are well on your way to achieving your first low cost Christmas. OK so you did have to buy half a weeks salary’s worth of completely useless stocking fillers ‘because they were there’, and you couldn’t just do stockings for immediate family.’ After all there are going to be at least eight of us, and it would be just terrible if any one thought I’d forgotten them’.
The look of polite disbelief on their faces when they eventually open their assorted play dough, king sized pick up sticks, plastic crib boards and animal key rings that pooh, (bearing in mind that apart from grandchildren the combined age of the ‘celebratees’ is probably over 500), persuades you that next year you ‘could do better.’
But you tried, truly you did. You bought all those, special, individual, carefully thought out one-off presents… and then you wrapped them. That’s when the wrapping paper conspiracy took over. No longer were the contents of importance; they just didn’t look right. They looked positively mean, scrimping, uncaring. Christmas conditioning dictates presents should look sumptuous. Only Scrooge and now obviously, you, do Christmas on such a parsimonious scale.
There is only one solution. Yet again you become a victim of the wrapping paper conspiracy. Out you fly, credit card in hand, matching presents to size and how many per person, heedless to desire or needs, the Christmas ogre in complete control. The governments and the credit card company, your puppeteers.
Finally you are sated. The Christmas room resembles a souk in high season. The kitchen is weighed down with bowls of fruit that will undoubtedly perish before consumption takes place. An overbearing smell of Roquefort feet emanates from the fridge. This is how it should be. You are at peace with your preconditioning.
And so it begins.