24 Dec 2014

Sugar and Spice... and All Things Nice?

Christmas, bah humbug! Children's and retailers' favourite time of year, where shoppers and sellers unite for a commercial feast that toxically equates love and happiness with expenditure and balance sheets. The time of year where the religious meaning of the celebration and its modern interpretation sit at the antipodes of each other. Yet the air is snappy and slightly intoxicating and it feels like the advocacy of miracles and magic is summoned in the granting of wishes, maybe facilitated by the faerical sparkly silvery golden ambience and the field work of Santa's emissaries deployed high and low.


Christmas, source of inspiration and stress in equal measures. Financial panacea and commercial commodity for businesses, and financial nemesis for the short on cash and the debt-ridden. Nonetheless it's showtime, across the sprawling retail parks, up and down the department stores, at the radiating heart of the cities where La Fée Electrique has electrified man-made canopies of snowflakes, shooting stars, sleighs, Tinkerbells, holly wreaths and spruces in an incongruous mish-mash of folklore reinvention of Christmas, a Christianised pagan feast (be said in passing). And they keep drumming it into us that this time of year is supposed to be festive in the spending, and fun has been engineered by admen and marketeers so that it relates to the purchasing and receiving of gifts, in that fine balancing act that defines conditional caring, and those who refrain from parting with their cash in order to be bought for in return, be despised for they are mean and scrooge! The Three Wise Men surely must be turning in their graves, bless!

Already the run-up to Christmas has seen a rivalry fought tooth and nail between family members, neighbours, co-workers, acquaintances and associates as to who will get the most Christmas cards. Believe me, I witnessed the frenzy when I used to live in England! In that spirit of things, you should expect one from your foe for they expect one in return, and to exceed the number of cards from last year, and may that living room wall be covered in them as a trophy display to visitors. Popularity is measured like it is in social media, in a very elusive, subjective and ultimately meaningless manner, where the quantity of so-called 'friends' has long surpassed the quality factor of the friendship.

Galletas de Encaje
In theory, Christmas Day at the dinner table sees happy get-togethers with the ones we hold dear in our hearts, with any sibling rivalry or in-laws feud forsaken for merryness of spirit and plentiful of fayre. However the blissful family reunion is not de-facto, especially nowadays, what with accent on individualism and the satisfaction of immediate needs, family values have been eroded and what results is a get-together of fragmented family sub-units who find themselves contrived to share a moment for the sake of tradition and in honour of that vague whiff of childhood nostalgia or filmographic reference that presents Christmas as an idealised family gathering brought to its epitome of sugar and spice and fancy free... Meanwhile let's go easy on the sour cream and the Grand Marnier! Soon enough Christmas Day will fade away and so will the brash light bulbs from the man-made canopies across town.

Blood Oranges by Mowielicious

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