A Pre Note From Aaron - So I have no idea what Harvey's Christmas article is about, but I assume it'll be very down on Christmas. As such to contradict him here is my tiny black Christmas tree I dig out every year, my miniature Nature's Prophet Plushie and literally the WaC site wishing you a very Merry Christmas. Thanks for your continued support in spite of our very poor release schedule, hope you got everything you wanted <3
And so another Christmas has reared its annoying, greedy, stupid, but slightly appreciated head for another year. Outside of being forced to take part in Christmas, mostly I'm happy that our viewers continue to check in enough that I get to write a second one of these and that writing for the site remains enjoyable without going completely ignored.
But back to it. The lead up to Christmas is a lot like life. You spend the entire time being tested with repetitive conversations about what you're up to and things you've bought, listening to bad music, buying endless trash that won't bring anyone any form of joy and then at the end of it all are left with only a memory of an event that was at best, slightly above average.
The only thing that I really appreciated this year about getting older and so finding Christmas increasingly disappointing is the fact that I now seem to be over the hump of at least the disappointment being a surprise now. Having purged any expectation that I will be receiving the gifts that I so happily absorbed like the greedy present grabbing shit stain that I once was, when I was weaker willed and spoilt by the day, I can now go in expecting just a catch up with some family I haven't seen in a while and then the inevitable cocks versus cunts edition of trivial pursuit which breaks out once everyone but me is suitably drunk enough because the thought of freely driving home at the end of all this is enough to avoid the sedation of alcohol.
Pictured: Uninhibited greed
For anyone interested, cocks versus cunts: trivial pursuit edition, is not a special brand board game available in your local Entertainer but instead a game in my house where the men and women go on separate teams to answer various questions about 70s politics, a subject that I would of course have no real depth of knowledge about, and so feel very left out among the shouting elders. It's by some kind of miracle this year that we had the modern edition, which featured questions not relating to things that I would never have any use for, and so allowed me to join in on the shouting and belittling match which was middle aged people showing off their wide knowledge of the world through trivia based questioning. We also only have 4 women to 7 men at our house, which makes the game fundamentally unfair and strangely enough the cocks always win, which leads to much celebration and acting like cocks.
The family household which we visit isn't one where I have a room to escape to like I once did when I was younger. Long ago when I was a kid I remember feeling left out of the festivities when the drinking started and sneaking away knowing that one day I would be able to join in the chatting and drinking that I was both cognitively and legally banned from doing. Yet now I find myself envious at the little ones who sneak off to their rooms to play on their Xbox Ones, a feat that I am scolded for if I try to follow the children into their domains as being antisocial, even though I'm being yelled this by someone who then goes on to set up a trivial pursuit game that I can have no impact on, one that neither can I talk during. Merry Christmas one and all.
This may sound like moaning, which it and most things published here are, but it really just highlights how Christmas becomes a lot less special as you leave childhood. This wouldn't be a problem given if you could replace that lack of excitement for a nice day, but I, as few have agreed with, have found that it is the company of the meal and the day that makes it an issue. This is why New Years, although much less hyped up, will always remain more fun, simply for the fact that Christmas has been branded as a family holiday and because of this, even the mention of spending Christmas outside of family circles will be met with scorn and the self evident accusation that you can't enjoy spending time with your family any more. A claim that you respond apologetically too because as much as you like to imagine yourself as a maverick, you're not quite sociopathic enough to be that brutally honest. For all the pleasures you lose from Christmas as you grow up, there's nothing to replace the satisfaction that was filled once by pure greed and selfishness, no matter how many games of cocks versus cunts you may win.
But growing up does give you the ability to take away more stuff from Christmas time, and although a lot of it is just a negative and bitter taste of underlying disgust at what the whole season seems to start off as, Christmas usually always redeems itself by escaping the clutches of consumerism and terrible music to eventually become a simple meal in with the family. One day I'm sure all the shops will remain open and unmanned except by subservient machines programmed to do nothing than sell novelty gifts and use sales techniques centred solely around emotional blackmail.
One thing that most identifiably confuses me about Christmas, aside from the awfulness of most Christmas songs, which is a subject that I don't want to spend too much time on. Although actually lets have a little sentence break to talk about the music quickly. Why are people so content to buy music about a time of year? I don't know what it is about Christmas over any other festival or date that makes people so compelled to buy music about it. I understand why music is released relating to Christmas at this time of year, since 'tis the season to be spending and so to release themed product around this time makes sense. What confuses me is just how happy people are to buy songs about Christmas. Is Christmas really that special of an idea that it emotionally invests people to buy a song about it? I can even understand Christmas themed songs that include subjects of love or the idea of returning home for Christmas, since these songs have an extra element to them. “Driving home for Christmas” or even Mariah Carey's endless drone of “All I want for Christmas is you”, that I'm sure will be a song that will continue to haunt my winters for the rest of my days, are about something a little more for Christmas. But songs like “I wish it could be Christmas everyday” and “Here it is Merry Christmas”, which are literally songs about Christmas existing, strike me as strange ones to get people excited or invested in. Plus they're boring and probably worst of all make no sense because anyone knows that if Christmas was everyday then it would lack any of the hallmarks of it being a special time of year, in that it doesn't happen everyday. This is why no one gives a shit about Tuesday, simply because it happens so often.
Although Justin Beiber's Nintendo sponsored cover of "All I want for Christmas is you (and a Nintendo 3DS)" remains one of the most enjoyable cynical things I've ever had the pleasure of watching
But back to what I was saying, the other thing that really stood out for me this year was the adverts. There seemed to be a lot of discussion at my work place and from people I ran into about how much they just simply loved the new John Lewis advert or how the Boots advert, about an apparently troublesome kid giving people Christmas presents because they were a teacher or because he wants to bang them, bought them to tears. Christmas adverts unlike most others, are probably the few adverts aside from charity and strangely emotional gravy adverts, that I've seen really try and pull at the heartstrings. Unless it's got a celebrity in it being all cheery and happy, you're more likely to be forced to cry at just how wonderful buying products is than made to feel positive about it being Christmas.
This advert has become a big hit on Youtube and although a nice little bit of work, it still saddens me that when I went to go and watch it, having been sadly recommended it, I had to watch an advert just to watch an advert
Because is Christmas that emotional? It's pleasant and you have a nice meal but nothing of particular beauty or intensity happens. Most of the time it's just arguing and buying arbitrary gifts for extended members of the family so as not to appear like some kind of selfish bastard. Unless you're having people from far away over to visit I'd say Christmas is actually a time where it's less likely for anything of any meaning to happen at all. Trapped up in your freezing house watching all of the shite that you can cram into eyes that's on the telly really doesn't lend itself to letting life changing moments happen. I've even spoken to a few unhappy friends who are going through bad relationships who say that they're waiting until after Christmas to end the relationships. If anything Christmas is a time when important things are put on the back burner so everyone can force themselves to have a civil time and aside from a few ill timed deaths and secretive cases of domestic abuse, I imagine nothing of any emotional impact, other than someone getting you an Xbox One instead of a PS4 actually happens.
But aside from the sentimental adverts and terrible music and withheld frustration at having to spend time with people that you are usually only acquainted with through shared genetics, it's best to remember the best things about Christmas. If you ignore the hype, then it'll just be an above average day. Anyone who takes it further than that and gives into the Christmas music and crying at the advert where the Hare wakes up the Bear from its hibernation early just so it can see Christmas, condemning it to certain death by interfering with it's sleeping pattern as now it won't have enough food to last the winter, aside from that delicious hare, is just strange to me. I just can't fully understand as a person, because that lack of cynicism about anything just makes me unable to relate, as if they're stuck in some emotional uncanny valley. I don't believe those people exist outside of advertising and although I understand that adverts have to present to us a perfect and extreme version of reality so we feel we have something to strive for, it can't not become disheartening and frustrating after several years at seeing many give into it and the mass spending and consumption that follows in its wake.
But from my time spent around colleagues and friends I learnt the true meaning of Christmas. As one woman got annoyed that the Muslims were apparently trying to ban Christmas and another complained about how consumerism is ruining Christmas before then going on to moan about the crowds who might snatch up all of the presents she has yet to buy, I found myself soothed by the fact that I could relinquish the idea I've held since childhood of Christmas being anything special or meaningful at all. It's just the epitome of a good festival, an excuse for people to eat and drink a lot, but drenched in the expected stupidity of other people that I'll just have to work around until nuclear war finally comes to clean up the mess.
Merry Christmas everyone. And have a better New Year.