When I was a young girl, Christmas was in December. We celebrated Halloween in October, and just a week later, we had bonfire night. Fireworks seem to be on sale most of the year, now and Christmas starts in September. I’m the worst offender, as soon as there is the first glimmer of tinsel, I am stockpiling Quality Street, so that I’m prepared for the big day. This is utterly ridiculous. Everyone gets into a complete panic early and it spoils the festive feeling. We all join in the retail fallacy of needing to spend money as early as possible.
I’ve been doing this so long and I don’t know how to stop. There must be a way. It seems as if everyone gets caught up in the need to wish the next celebration or occasion to hurry along, and then on New Year’s Eve, we all say, “I don’t know where the year has gone.” Do we ever ‘smell the coffee’ anymore? Instead of anticipating the frantic spending spree which leaves us exhausted and unable to enjoy January, with credit card bills collecting, we should just leave Christmas back where it belongs, and enjoy the advent calendar in December.
In America, they celebrate Thanksgiving the second to last Thursday in November, something to do with pilgrims and colonisation and turkeys. I’ve never really understood it, but I guess that’s America. Then they exported to us Black Friday, which is the day after, as if they haven’t spent enough money on Thanksgiving. Amazon say that it starts on the 16th, and husband in a hurry says it starts on the 23rd. It’s a time when online retailers can persuade us to buy the things they haven’t been able to sell all year, at a discounted price. As if that’s not enough, they give us Cyber Monday, after Black Friday to try and persuade us to buy more ‘gifts’ for people we don’t especially like. I can’t understand or even enjoy Christmas with this much pressure.
And as for the food, well, where do I begin? I’ll make lists of all the provisions I need to get me through Christmas, but the shops are only closed for two days, and there’s always a Costcutter. I will book Christmas online delivery slots as soon as they open. I end up throwing away food, which I can’t afford to do, and which offends my morals, because there will be so many people who won’t have any food on Christmas day. My grandma used to tell me that another mince pie meant another happy month, well I’ve probably eaten enough to be happy for the rest of my life.
Why do we buy Christmas crackers, can anyone tell me? They’re overpriced, they don’t really make much noise and there’s a very bad joke inside. We collect together the mini pack of playing cards, the magnify glass, which no one can see through because it’s so tiny, the jumping toy, that generally lasts about five seconds, and there’s a lot of wasted paper debris, which goes in the landfill, because it’s non-recyclable.
This morning, my daughter told me not to waste my money on cards, because she doesn’t like them. She opens them, reads them, throws away the envelope, and on the fourth of January, disposes of them, because my grandson has a birthday on the fifth.
I really wish I could break out of this cycle. It bothers me a lot, and it seems to get worse and more intense every year. Who’s the turkey now?