I’m finally at the point where I’m done with Christmas, or, at least, the capitalist version of it. My enthusiasm for the holiday has severely waned over the past few years and I now struggle to see the point in the holiday at all. I enjoy the music and the general festive spirit but I can’t stand the way it’s been corrupted by corporations.
A month ago I went home to Dorset for two weeks to see my family and best friend. Although it was the beginning of November, I considered that to be my “Christmas”. No presents, cards or big fancy meals involved, just quality time together and a lot of laughs. That was genuine happiness, for me. This Christmas, since everyone around me is still intent on buying me presents, I’m only requesting donations to a local homeless charity. My logic is that, if the people around me remain intent on buying me a present, it should be something worthwhile for someone who is worse off than me.
For the last few years I’ve been able to buy the things I want so I haven’t needed to ask for much, but I’m now at the age where I don’t actually want much anyway. I’m tired of producing an arbitrary wishlist of presents that I vaguely desire but can’t be bothered to buy myself. It’s become such a monotonous routine. I feel like a mindless drone that immediately feels the impulse to spend money on irrelevant presents as soon as I see a Christmas advert or see mince pies on a supermarket shelf. I largely blame corporations and advertising for selling this routine as “the norm”. The adverts are even more sickening this year as they pull on our heartstrings by telling us what a shit year it’s been (thanks COVID) and how much better this Christmas will be, just to make us spend money we don’t have on products we don’t want.
The fact that many atheists, agnostics, and people who generally couldn’t care less about religion, still celebrate Christmas proves how little of its Christian origins remain, and how we’re just stuck in a routine. The idea of Christmas is intersubjective, like the idea of Tinkerbell; it only exists as long as we believe it exists. What secures its existence even further is the pressure one feels to celebrate it in some way. The holiday is supposed to celebrate the birth of Christ but has been hijacked by capitalist corporations and they even use its Christian heritage as a selling point. Just look at how many shopping centres host choirs singing carols about the birth of Christ and how great God is etc etc. If you don’t believe in Jesus then why celebrate his birth? We may as well be celebrating Dumbledore’s birth, or Gandalf’s (for the record, I’m totally up for doing this). We’re Christmas zombies (great movie idea).