I AM OFTEN HEARD muttering “Bah! Humbug!” at this time of year. To say I find Christmas quite difficult is an understatement: I once emigrated to avoid the madness that is the UK Christmas holiday; even now we normally leave the country for the festive period.
But this year – “Bah! Humbug!” – we are going to be at home. Let me explain my feelings on the subject . . .
In a world riven with increasing suburban poverty and consumer debt, I find it hard to believe people are still suckered into it. Hard on the heels of the dress rehearsal that is Halloween, the Christmas (I HATE the shortenied ‘Xmas’!) retail marketing machine gets into full swing and before you know it, we’re all being sold stuff we don’t need.
Windows are decorated with that dreadful imitation snow while our streets are filled with ‘jollydaymakers’ singing ‘Jingle Bells’ as they walk down a wet pavement that, before we broke the planet, actually had snow falling on it.
We’ve become so far removed from the reality of our lives and existence within our ecosystem that we celebrate the birth of Christ by foisting lavish, unnecessary gifts on our loved ones, things they don’t need which they promptly return after the festivities have passed for things they actually DO want!
How old does this make me? I actually miss the old sock with a tangerine and a walnut inside that was presented on Christma morning alongside other, more extravagant gifts such as the Guinness Book of Records or a new pullover.
So why is a technology writer like I’m supposed to be banging on about Christmas? What has all this to do with the Brave New World? Well very little, really, other than this: if you MUST take part in this false reality and absurd retail madness don’t buy your technology gifts before Christmas, buy your loved one a card with a promise to get them the gift in the January sales.
Large technology retailers are desperate to take your money pre-Christmas because they know they also get another chance as soon as the ‘Boxing Day Sales’ begin. Don’t fall for it . . . wait. Mess up their pre-Christmas profits and get a real bargain after Christmas (and preferably after New Year’.
Here are my recommendations for a perfect, guilt-free Christmas at home: Skype those far away loved ones, send Merry Christmas message to Facebook friends, take a family walk WITHOUT PHONES (!),maybe go to church or take a mince pie to a neighbour and stay for a drink, give up some time for charity, do a good deed, wish someone you don’t know a real “Merry Christmas” and take stock of what you have and where you are.
Reconnect as human beings and put the technology away for the day!