Far too much has been written about the over-commercialisation of Christmas. People have been banging on about this ever since I can remember, but without success, for the phenomenon has now reached ridiculous lengths. From the beginning of October I went through my Facebook news feed resolutely deleting everything that had a reference to Christmas and keeping it up until the actual beginning of Advent which this year fell on 30th November. (Incidentally this reminds me of Nigel, the over-zealous curate in ‘Rev’ – can’t find the clip – who flounces into the office and announces ‘If I have to tell one more person it isn’t Christmas yet, it’s Advent, I shall go completely doo-lally!’) I can’t remember exactly when the season of Christmas begins but I think it’s on Christmas Eve – and then it lasts, as the song says, twelve days after that.
But nowadays Christmas begins as soon as the summer holidays are over. Barely is the harvest in; hardly have the children got their feet under a larger set of school desks, than the adverts begin. You hear with dread the faint jingle of bells that announces the onset of yet another festive season; parents and teachers groan at the knowledge that they must deal with the children’s mounting excitement for another two and a half months before it can be discharged – and then the shopping begins.
Well – it seems to me that, with global warming, what we have here is the anti-Narnia. The climate has changed so much; winters are now so much warmer than they were and Christmas so much longer, that we seem to be in a country that has fallen under the spell of some wicked wizard; a country where it’s Always Christmas and Never Winter.
I guess one advantage of not having money is that you can just ignore all the ads; the only offer I’ve been remotely tempted by is a subscription to Granta and sadly it’s too late to ask for that now. Keep it simple is my philosophy: straightforward presents, not too many cards, and an easy Christmas meal without too many extras. Enough food and wine to enjoy, presents under the tree and a few Xmas crackers – and I am content.
Would it were so easy to sort out global warming. Then again, maybe it is: maybe if we apply the same criteria – cut out the extras, live more simply, have enough to enjoy and be content – we could find the answer.
Oh, and get me a subscription to Granta…