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The truth is, I don't really get Christmas. When I was little, back in the 60s, it was definitely all about Jesus. It was a religious festival to celebrate the wee boy. I liked it then. While we were not a religious family in any way, and didn't go to church, I still thought Jesus was my mate. Like he was a big brother who would look after you. And it was all very heart-warming. It felt like there was a point to the whole Christmas thing.
But somewhere in the 70s, it turned from being a JC gig to a Santa gig. Stuff became the big deal. How much stuff could you eat buy and consume?
Now, I'm confused about Santa. Who the hell is he? Some trippy fat dude flying through the sky? Are you sure? And how come he's muscled in onto Jesus's gig - or was it the other way around? But we're not celebrating the arrival of the red and white dude, are we? Or are we? You see more of him than you do of Jesus, these days.Then again, I suppose buying stuff is a form of religion to some people, so maybe Santa represents that quite well.
But, I'll be honest, the whole thing seems a bit soulless to me. I've nothing against people having a good time, obviously, but not for no reason is this the time of year that more people decide to end their marriages and their lives. The pressure to be happy and to have a good time is overbearing to the point whereby if you're not happy and having a good time, it seems like you're weird or are letting the side down,
Forced jollity tends to lead to you feeling alone in a crowded room. I know all about that.
Last year we tried doing Christmas for the first time since the 80s, but it didn't take. Putting a party hat on isn't that much fun and it all felt...well...a bit pointless. And Jesus was happy for us to worship him quielty in private. Tinsel is not required to prove you care.
It's probably because we don't have kids, I think. Maybe if we did, we'd feel more Christmassy. But we don't, so we don't. In fact I'm always glad when it's over and we can get back to normal. If I had a job, I'd definitely be the one who put his hand up to work on Christmas Day.
Anyway, I write this because I always fear there are people who feel similarly to me and feel bad about it every time they're berated by someone saying, 'cheer up, it's Xmas' and just can't. I know it feels like you're some sick weirdo to feel an empty hole where the Christmas spirit apparently should be.
If that's you. Hang in there. Don't despair. It won't last long. There are lots of us who feel the same way. At least you'll come through it all with a healthier bank balance and liver. Drop the needle on your favourite records and rock the season away. That's what I'll be doing.