It’s hard to avoid Christmas; not that wanting to is indicative of any Bah Humbug syndrome but the proliferation of tat in the shops gets on my nerves. Likewise the queues at the checkout when I want to purchase some non-Christmas item like a sandwich or a bottle of coke.
It’s the expectation of presents that grieves me most. In particular the notion of ‘must-haves’; this year Mr Squiggles and the debut cd by Susan Boyle. I remain convinced that the lead-poisoning scare is a ploy started by a rival toy company looking to oust Go Go Pets from the best seller list. As for Susan Boyle I’ve listened to her on Amazon and she has a great voice but so has Amy Winehouse, kdlaing and Cecily Raines; Cecily who? My point exactly. There are many fabulous voices out there; the difference with Susan Boyle is that the full promotion wagon is racing you towards the checkouts with the sole aim of parting you from your money. The ‘must-have’ syndrome has nothing to do with the product; it’s what possession of the product says about you. Creating this sort of demand is a marketing dream and Christmas is the peak time of year for its fulfilment.
The cardinal points mark the sun’s 12 month journey around the sky. Quarter markers are the Spring and Autumn Equinox and the Summer and Winter Solstice. At around the 21st December the sun sinks to its lowest point and stays there for around three days, seemingly stationary, before changing direction and starting to rise again. This sign that the sun was reborn traditionally signalled 12 days of celebration. Throughout time there are records of cultural partying at or shortly after the winter solstice; all connected in one way or another with a god or a hero returning from the dead.
It’s good to have time off with family and friends at Christmas; have a few drinks, wind down and reflect before another year starts all over again. What’s less good is the commercial materialism that accompanies it and is increasing into a madness that most people can’t afford and don’t really want to get caught up in. Mark the date in your calendar of the Winder Solstice on 21st December and spare a thought for the real meaning of Christmas.