To whoever invented Xmas,
I know it was an idea loosely based on the idea of Christmas. And I respect your ability to take an idea and run with it…probably to the bank and back again and again but who am I to make assumptions?
I have to admire your ability to turn millions of people into unthinking consumerists prepared to be indebted to banks/credit card companies/payday loan companies/loan sharks for Xmas. People who somehow believe the concept of paying for presents over paying for rent and council tax is a good idea. There is something you have tapped into in the human psychology that means that people willingly conform and I admire that you made it happen, in a ‘I would never be able to do that’ kind of way of course – in the same way that I admire people that can drive behind a really slow car and not get at all angry or even swear – it truly blows my mind and so I admire that.
I imagine those Business Managers at the bank gave you a hard time when scrutinising your business plan: “You mean to tell me you think you will get millions of people around the world, to spend billions of pounds in the name of one day of the year?” I imagine them asking. They must have laughed you out of the same banks you are now running to…and back again. How you must enjoy the last laugh.
I like that you try and pretend to bear a resemblance to Christmas through the medium of television adverts; that there is a Xmas spirit and seasonal goodwill but as I do not see Coca-cola buying me anything, I suppose I find the goodwill on these television adverts a little one-sided and self-serving. I think this makes me see this goodwill as not so good.
As an aside about goodwill, I remember the snow fall of January 2009 when people were off work and strangers played together in the streets and picked each other up when they’d fallen over really badly. Yes there was some laughing at them but there was goodwill. The best thing about it? It was free!
You may wonder why I have written to you, Whoever invented Xmas, I am kind of wondering too. I think it is because I don’t get it. Remember that film Big with Tom Hanks and he stood up like the boy in the Emperor’s new clothes and he said (ironically, in a toy store boardroom) “I don’t get it” when everyone else was fawning over a new toy. That’s how i feel. I don’t get it.
I haven’t got it for some time but I’ve gone along with it. I have decided that this will be the last year that I go along with it until I start getting it again.
I will tell you some things I take particular umbrage with and maybe that will help.
I asked my sister what she wanted for Xmas (because nobody seems to know what to get anyone anymore), she told me and I will buy it for her. I will wrap it up and I will give it to her.
My sister asked me what i wanted, I told her and she will buy it for me, wrap it up and give it to me. We will thank each other and be grateful. But, Whoever invented Xmas, wouldn’t it have been easier to get what i asked her for for myself but not necessarily at Xmas?
The reason I had not bought what I ‘asked for’ previously was that I decided I could not really afford to spend money on something I didn’t really need that much. At Xmas that rationale goes out the window which by Xmas logic means I spend money I cannot really afford on something for someone else that they don’t really need that much and vice versa. Why? Is that what you envisaged was the best use of time and money?
Don’t get me wrong, I love presents. I love giving good gifts (as opposed to pointless ones that people have told me to buy them when pushed because it was not something they had really wanted) and I love getting something I haven’t expected or something I have really really wanted. When someone gets it right, my heart and spirited is lifted by the idea that someone has put enough thought, effort and listening in to me to know what I would like. But that happens like once in a lifetime if you’re lucky – at 10 years old. Maybe it is that 10 year olds are easier to please (well they were in the 80s). Every year after that is spent perfecting the right facial expression and tone of voice that hides the disappointment/anger/irritation at the present you have just opened wondering why nobody puts in enough thought/effort/listening into what you really like.
It’s not like there is somebody whose job it is to know this. Someone who knows what you want, whether you’ve been naughty or nice. Oh there is?? Santa Claus you say? Wow, you’ve covered all bases.
Now I like Santa as much as the next parent – which is nowhere as much as the kids. My biggest problem with him is that he will have taken credit for what I have had to endure since September – my daughter at every advert break asking me “Can I have that for Christmas?” I only hope that her memory is as bad as i have given her credit for because she will be severely disappointed at the small haul she will receive and not the hundreds of presents I have told her she can have because I cannot be bothered to experiment with saying ‘no’. But no matter how big or small her haul is, Santa will take but all the credit.
Do you think that my expectation of Xmas is too high; that I shouldn’t expect life to carry on as normal or i am what you have others call people that do not like the concept: Scrooge or Grinch or bah humbug
You see, I decided some time ago that I would make it my life’s sub-text to avoid anything that causes stress or makes life that little bit more difficult. For the most part i did quite well. Then i got a kitten and i realised i couldn’t win ‘em all.
If we take my kitten out of the equation (or just take my kitten…please) I do quite well. However, every so often Xmas comes around and really tests my life’s sub-text and so this is why I am writing to you, because xmas is everything I strive to avoid the rest of the year and I question why we all do it.
But as free-thinking person, I realise that it’s not you, it’s me. I went along with it for far too long and it has to stop!
Maybe I just thought you should know that.