Every year, somewhere in the torrent of Christmas-related guffle that the media pour into our consciousness, there is the Grinch piece, the 'I'm going to tell you how much I hate Christmas' article. Such articles are as much part of our preparation for Christmas as the 'we've lost sight of the true meaning' rants and the avalanche of charity appeals each more tragic than the next.
We need people who write stuff like this:
Christmas is the stick with which millions of us beat ourselves into brandy-soaked agony for being poor, single, childless, lonely, or simply bad at being jolly. It’s one thing to be single, skint and surrounded by dysfunctional relatives, but it’s quite another when the entire capitalist world is telling you that this is the most magical time of the year. We seem to have lost the script to a pantomime we never even believed in. We have ruined Christmas, without even trying.
Indeed this article (being as it's in the Guardian and all that) fills a specific sub-sector of the 'I hate Christmas' genre - the 'I hate Christmas because of all the advertising, commercialism and evil capitalist exploitation' piece. You see folks, we really don't have any choice in the matter as the glamour of capitalism's seasonal fairies has enchanted us - we are led astray by the glitter of fairy dust. Now is not the time to deal with the ignorance of this view - suffice it to say that it's nonsense.
However, it's necessary for us to have these sorts of writings just so people like me can tell the authors (in this case one Nell Frizzell) to stop being pathetic, grumpy old kill-joys and get down with the spirit of the time. To remind them of this:
"I do," said Scrooge. "Merry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You're poor enough.”
For this is the message of the Nell Frizzells of our world - like Ebeneezer Scrooge they see Christmas as 'just a day':
...if we really do want to spread comfort and joy this year, we should accept it for what it is; a day. Just a day. Whatever Roy Wood says.
You see our Nell sees Christmas as an intrusion into her misery and her celebration of the misery of others. The sad thing is that (and I've no issue with Nell sitting in the corner with her pet lip, arms crossed and definitely not getting involved in anything that seems even the slightest bit like festivity) what the 'I hate Christmas' brigade don't appreciate is that, if we didn't have Christmas, we'd have to invent it or something pretty much like it. And the very reason for that is that very gloom, misery and despondency that surrounds so many of us - especially in the dank, dreary darkness of winter. The thing Nell evokes in her sorry tale of Christmas past and Christmas present.
More to the point (and it's a very important point) Christmas is still the very antithesis of that supposed selfish capitalism. Even ignoring the God bit, Christmas is a time when we give presents, send blessings and share stuff with our neighbours. Most of the year we don't sing songs with other people (I'll be carolling at The George in Cullingworth tomorrow - beer and song, what could be better), we don't make a specific effort to consider our fellow men near and far, and we don't make an effort to recognise the bonds of family and friendship that hold our society together.
It is people like Nell Frizzell who are the selfish ones (and let me stress that I'm not saying they can't be selfish, just that their selfishness is sad and pathetic) with their self-righteous, posing rejection of Christmas. Po-faced and preachy, Nell refuses to play - no gifts for friends, no smile, no games. Just nonsense about capitalism. Nell doesn't even plan to replace expensive largess with making a cheaper, personal effort to join in the spirit of sharing - nope, Nell plans to do nothing, to sit there pretending she's a better person because she's opted out of Christmas. Well she's wrong and there's only one thing to say to such people...