As you wake this Christmas morning with all the excitement and joy of the festivities, you can be forgiven for thinking I’m nothing more than a miserable tight-fisted old git who never thinks of anyone but himself, but in truth that has never been the case and it still isn’t…
But this Christmas, like so many of them before, there is a recurring theme to the festivities for me. I’ve offered my Humbug Carols from the river bank previously, I’ve reminded you that the Grim Reaper still works on Bank Holidays and I’ve asked what did you do today to make you feel proud. My seasonal salutation is as it has been for several years now, Merry Christmas / Bah Humbug (Delete as appropriate) and I’m not alone…
Humbug: I’m not a massive fan of Christmas, to be honest. Ever since I heard Mr WARREN do his infamous “Bah, Humbug” assembly at school when I was a teenager, I’ve had something resonating in my head. As well as activating anxieties around a general principle of mine – that if something takes longer to plan than it does to do, it is inherently unworthwhile – there is also all the cultural abuse that goes with it…(Mental Health Cop)
This year perhaps even more than ever before (mostly because of austerity and lack of disposable income etc), it appears that many others are also starting to think a little like me, always assuming they didn’t already. Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert.com fame asked recently; Is it Time To Kill Off Santa?
In a time when many are feeling austerity, is it still a good idea to perpetuate the myth of Santa Claus – a man outside the reality of economics who brings free gifts to children around the world? (Martin Lewis)
And recently in The Telegraph Martin also suggested that we should ban unnecessary Christmas presents and I tend to agree in the main, with both sentiments.
Across the country people are growling at the enforced obligation to waste money on stuff they can’t afford, for people who won’t use it. Festive gift-giving has lost its point, risks doing more harm than good, mis-teaches our children about values and kills the joy of anticipation of what should be a joyous time…(telegraph.co.uk)
It’s probably a bit extreme to deny our kids the magic and enjoyment of Santa and the seasons festivities (always assuming they still hold that belief in the first place) however; it probably is time to readjust the message we are delivering to our children at Christmas. A large proportion of us can no longer afford the financial realities of the Christmas expectations and overt extravagance connected with the festivities. We need to try to stem this tidal wave of excese and extravagance.
I’m not ashamed to admit it, but I am one of those people who really needs to call a halt to all this seasonal financial suicide. My priorities are (and always will be) keeping a roof over the heads of my family, keeping us warm dry and sustained. With the recent increases in fuel and food costs, coupled with a reduction in family income of more than two thirds in recent years, I can assure you this really is no mean feat.
I’m not sad or angry but because of my current personal financial predicament, most of my friends and family won’t have received a gift or card this year. That doesn’t mean I don’t care. It also doesn’t mean I don’t think about them and love them, or consider the people that truly matter to me. Those individuals are special to me/us, they are also an important part of our lives and they are also held in high esteem and have true status in my family and social group however; because they are the type of people I think they are, I would also expect them to be understanding of our situation. If they don’t I had them all wrong.
Despite all of the above it doesn’t mean I won’t be giving something to others this Christmas, I will. But to significantly reduce the unnecessary and unaffordable expenditure I have decided upon the following; for every individual that I would normally send a card/gift I will be giving £1.00 to a worthy cause. My intention is to donate that money to a charity that works to improve the life of people who are less fortunate than I am.
At some early point in the new year I will inform you all how much money was gifted and to which specific charity. Until then, love and best wishes to all my family and friends, I hope Christmas is/was everything you expected it to be.
As Ever…Merry Humbug and whoever your particular God is, may he/she watch over you!
- That Bah Humbug Feeling – Again! (bankbabble.wordpress.com)
- FFS It’s Christmas – Not The Relief of Feckin’ Mafeking (bankbabble.wordpress.com)
- Martin Lewis: Is it time to ban Christmas presents? (telegraph.co.uk)
- The 12 saves of Christmas: Money saving expert Martin Lewis on how to avoid financial hangover (mirror.co.uk)
- ‘Is it time to ban Christmas presents?’ (telegraph.co.uk)
Visiting the local branch of Tesco today, like every other bloody pre-Christmas weekend in recent years past, the convoys of fully laden trolleys leaving the premises would tend to suggest; there was actually some great disaster looming or perhaps (another) imminent massive war about to take place, each resulting in much-needed humanitarian relief operations…
Possibly to the surprise of many, the Relief of Mafeking was successfully executed more than one hundred years ago now, Eschatology isn’t predicting an event of Apocalyptic proportions, at least not at any time soon to my knowledge and now, even the Mayan legend that 21-12-2012 was the end of the world didn’t come to fruition, thankfully.
True to form as in so many previous years, disgustingly massive amounts of food drink and gifts have been purchased in the week running up to Christmas Day. But most of that food will actually remain uneaten and, along with a large proportion of the reaming festive detritus, it will be consigned to the weelie-bins within a few days of Christmas. All this whilst millions around our world are starving.
Convoys of bin-waggons in epic proportions reminiscent of the Band Aid relief effort, will trundle off into the countryside stuffed with extra rubbish from packaging, gift wrapping, half-eaten (or even un-eaten) food and many unwanted or already broken gifts. All destined to be deposited at already maxed out landfill sites. Somewhat naively I suppose, I’d like to think that perhaps a large proportion of bottles, along with the vast majority of the billions of Christmas cards sent and received this year would reach a recycling plant, but I doubt it.
I always find it difficult to understand the inept and somewhat juvenile Survivalist mentality that drives so many of these people today. It might have been partly relevent in days gone by, those times where all shops were closed for at least 2-3 days at Christmas (if not longer), but not now!
Much of that stockpiling of provisions is simply driven by the aggressive commercial marketing of retailers, that and a modicum of media scare-mongering. Their perennial meteorological Millenium Bug plays it’s part too, that method of reporting which indicates; we’re all going to be snowed in for months by blizzard conditions, or maybe we’ll be flooded out by rainfall that Noah would have relished.
Either way the commodities we ’need’ won’t be available, always assuming we can actually get to the store to buy them. This type of media trash appears every winter but given the 2012 phenomenon, perhaps there’s a little more reason (excuse) to think like that than in previous years?
Thankfully, the New Age interpretation of these eschatological beliefs predicts that a transition is now taking place. The beginning of a period during which the inhabitants of this world will undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation. Could 21-12-2012 finally bring this much-needed change, at least as it relates to Christmas if nothing else?
At this time of the year I tend to adopt my annual Ebenezer Scrooge persona, not out of thrift or some miserly or inherently miserable trait but more, from a dissatisfaction with society and the individuals that live within it. But even Scrooge came good in the end for Christmas, perhaps there’s a chance for me yet?
At this time of the year our TVs are full of a myriad of cheesy movies portraying the true meanings and messages of Christmas. How many of us actually listen to the message being told in those stories?
I suspect far too few after all, the Christmas message has ben portrayed in the Arts for hundreds of years now, but we still fail to listen. You see many of us are just far too busy trying to out-do our friends with festive extravagance, or perfecting our self-indulgence of drinking and eating to excess. Despite purporting to do so, not many of us have the time (or inclination) to ever consider the plight of others less fortunate than ourselves at Christmas. Isn’t it time we all tried to prove that the eschatological gang are actually correct?
At least then hopefully every Bob Cratchit, or starving orphan in a third-world desolate land, will finally have the chance to enjoy something of life and not just at Christmas. In addition, I’ll finally be able to ditch my Scrooge costume, with the expanding waistline I have to admit it is starting to nip a little!
As Ever… Merry Humbug!
As we race headlong into Christmas at the usual breakneck disgusting commercial pace, like many I’m one of those people who is once again consumed by the Bah Humbug feeling…
It’s a feeling I get every year and one which I also offered my views about last year (see here). True to form my opinion hasn’t really changed very much, neither do I expect it to. Many of those who purportedly endorse and promote the festivities also often don’t actually believe in a lot of what they seek to portray.
Despite the retort being something of a common byword for miserliness today, my particular brand of bah humbug isn’t associated with the inherent traits displayed by that well-known Dickensian character Ebenezer Scrooge. That said, I suspect I’m not alone with my views and feelings about Christmas; year on year we seem to get ever further from what Christmas is all about (or at least should be).
Today perhaps more now than ever before, especially given the recent census results (see here), there are probably just as many people who view the seasonal festivities in a similar manner. After all, Christmas is predominantly a Christian celebration. But religious connotations aside, I’m also sure there are just as many people (if not more) who look upon the season with trepidation and/or disdain, as there are those who might be excited about it.
I’m not a misery but after working every Christmas Day bar four since I left school, the day has never been a holiday for me per se. Add thirty years of being a police officer and all that entails and you might start to understand why I do the Bah Humbug thing. You see Christmas doesn’t provide a holiday from crime, from road collisions and death. It doesn’t stop drunks beating hell out of their partners (or their kids), in fact an increase in domestic violence often occurs over the Christmas period.
Despite all the contrived love and compassion that is suddenly evident at Christmas, for many people Christmas is actually a time of sadness. This year, probably more so than in recent times, the impacts of national austerity and personal or family belt-tightening will also be creating even grater financial and/or emotional difficulties than usual.
So as ever… Merry Bloody Humbug!