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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Help us Santa, you're our only hope! 

I passed a house this morning when I was walking to the station and they had a sign in the garden that asked Santa to "please stop here!"

Why did that annoy me as much as it did? No-one puts such a sign in their garden if they are in real need. They would have no need to plead with a mythical third party to stop by with gifts. It is clear evidence of begging by people who do not need to do so for things that they really do not need.

All signs like that do is encourage greed in children. They seldom need encouragement. They are naturally greedy. The encouragement of that greed seems completely counter to everything that Christmas should be.

I have been accused of being a grouch at Christmas and I would accept that as a viable assessment. I don't like Christmas very much, or at least I don't like what it's turned into. I don't like feeling obliged to have to buy things for people I don't see from one year to the next or sending cards to people who are little more than names on a bit of paper.

I don't like getting presents from people and pretending to like them (the presents or the people, take your pick). I would much rather have one carefully thought out cheap gift than a dozen showy gifts that will never be used.

I like seeing people at Christmas. I like cosy days and nights playing games or watching television. I hate being caught up in the commercial feeding frenzy of seeing what can be bought for whom and what presents I will get.

It is easy to be caught up in it all. I admit I enjoy the suspense of knowing there are presents with my name on them and the mystery of not knowing what's under the paper until Christmas day. The anticipation is everything.

The lead-up, the endless shopping, the wrapping, the writing of cards, the feigned joy of seeing yet another pair of socks: I can do without that.

My friend Paul, calls Christmas, Xma$. It says it all really.

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