So, Is Christmas Soon?
I've been accused of being a grinch in the past, usually for my general disdain towards the "most magical time" of the year.
While that may be true, it's not Christmas itself that gets on my nerves.
It's the rampant consumerism of it all, the desperate cash-grab that businesses engage in even if they are no way related to gift giving or yuletide at all.
It's the artificial hype that gets pumped into the populace, the onus on families that they must make a single day special (and clearly, the only way to do that is to spend your life savings down at the local Farmers store).
Finally, it's the steady encroachment of the holiday on the rest of year – remember, you must plan your Christmas day and start spending money NOW (regardless of the time of year).
Boxing day? Best start getting ready for next year…
I can understand that companies need to make money, but seriously, is Kmart so cash strapped that they need to start the hype machine in September? Granted they didn't start selling anything until October, but the 'Christmas Store' section of the website had a somewhat ominous "coming soon" teaser that showed up halfway through September – nearly 4 months before Christmas.
Oh, and as soon as the online store finally showed up, the physical stores were once again filled with Santa hat adorned flamingos.
Does the looming idea of crippling seasonal debt a THIRD OF A YEAR beforehand make it more special? Or is this an example of mega-stores "being responsible" and giving their less-well-off customers more of a chance to spread-out their buying to have less of an impact on the end-of-the-year? Hint: no, no it's not. It's entirely about making more out of their biggest earning quarter. They couldn't care less if you're actively considering suicide so you can claim life insurance to cover your Christmas debt ('cause apparently that's a thing – what a time to be alive!)
Hot on the heels of the earliest companies that jumped the gun, the first mass-marketing on television started in October with the first '
Winter Christmas is coming' ads appearing, urging anybody that still watches broadcast TV to start preparing (of which the viewership is a much higher percentage than your average 'I only pirate TV on my schedule to stick-it-to-the-man' hipster wannabes would like you to believe).
Did we all somehow forget when Christmas was? Can't I just watch a rerun of Friends without the constant reminder that Christmas is on the same day it is every year? Let's all agree to never change the day Christmas falls on – the ad agencies wouldn't be able to keep up with the new demand for reminder ads that start during the Easter break.
Can't we just stick to the standard 12 days of Christmas? (which, by the way, begins with Christmas, and finishes with the epiphany feast on January 6th) and isn't the roughly two weeks before that retailers had already hijacked with bastardizations of the source material.
Is anyone else sick of the desperation in large corporations trying to stay relevant?
Or the local mechanic offering "50% off brake-pads for Christmas!" (seriously, if you buy 'practical' gifts like vital vehicular safety necessities that really shouldn't be delayed until the mechanic is having a sale, they best be addressed to 'The Car' and not someone you care to impress).
Don't get me wrong, I'll still celebrate Christmas with my wife (at least the New Zealand version that's less religiousy and more presenty). She'll probably cook a feast that we'll harvest the leftovers from until New Year's Day - because she enjoys cooking and nothing to do with the perceived need to eat more food than some communities see in an entire year that also comes with the season. We'll exchange gifts and watch traditional festive movies like Die Hard. Hell, I might even enjoy it – my biggest thrill of the season is finding epic gifts, even if my dearest wife never remembers what I get her (which isn't an indication that they're inferior gifts, last year was a complete monopoly set from the 30s – the earliest I could find).
But even still, I refuse to even acknowledge the existence of Christmas until December, usually around the time my opinion is rendered irrelevant and a blinking beacon of lights bright enough to hail the next galaxy over appears in the living room. I don't think it's unreasonable to reply to "What are your plans for Christmas?" with a sharp "It's August, I don't know what I'm doing next week" (an actual exchange that occurred this year).
Does this make me a grinch? Should I be following suit and discussing with my friends at the local café how I stored a case of champagne in the cupboard for Christmas three months ago?
I mean seriously, it's what, 3 hours of a day? You cook and clean all bloody morning to have family turn up at lunch time. They eat all your food, open their presents and bugger off home again.
A week to prepare should be plenty – 24 hours if you don't really care about making it all that special. Make it 48 if you want to avoid the 'last minute madness' where people start to have a weird nervous breakdown that there aren't enough yams (who cares, they're just yams – the supermarket stocks them on other days too).
It really isn't worth getting worked up about, especially not to the point of stress induced anxiety attacks. If it's crap, there's always next year. Trust me on that one, I've had some pretty shockingly hairy Christmas' (police involvement one year with my family).
If you're worried you haven't made it special enough for your kids – meh - if you've tried your hardest, surely, they'll understand and will probably grow up to recognize the effort that was there all along (even if they seem disappointed now).
However, if they cry because you only got them the latest iPhone and iMac, they're spoilt little shitlords and you should disavow any lineage to them immediately.
Your friendly neighbourhood grinch,