Monday, 29 November 2010

The Pointlessness of Christmas?

I am guessing that you are wondering where this post is going, with a title such as this. You are not alone.

I am not sure if this is a world-spanning phenomenon or just a quaint British one, or if any of you who are reading this have noticed it. Our tellies are replete with adverts selling flooring, furnishing and white goods. Most are advertising the Sale-in-Perpetuity, offering baggy settees for 'five-nine-nine', reduced from something daft like £1700.00. It's legal but it doesn't reflect the absolute letter of truthfulness either, but it is not that which I seek to examine.

At the moment, those adverts will have a little seasonal clause:

"Buy your three-piece suite before 11:16am on December 8th and we will ....."
"Order your flooring before 02:52 on Sunday 5th December and we will ..."
"Cough up the wonga before the close of trade yesterday and we will ..."
"Sign your life away in our stores before you next take breath and we will ..."

What? What is the panacea to which all retailers cling in these weeks? Yes ...

...they will GUARANTEE delivery/fitting before Xmas/Christmas...

Now, I am a cynic, so in the spirit of open-mindedness, I have to ask if these noble cash-purloining emporia are hoping to render your homes to the status of perfect in time for the moment of the Incarnation. Are they concerned that the entire population will want to return home from a Christmas Mass to a brand spanking new shag-pile? 

Of course not - don't be daft. I am fairly sure that Lord Harris of Peckham, or the present owner of the beleagured Allied Carpets, or the top honchos of DFS or Dreams are fixated on the 'Away in a Manger' thing, and let's be honest - none of us are that worried about having a new lounge carpet or furniture that we won't be at home to enjoy? Are we? You'd be surprised. I use to take sales in June that would be intended for supply in the week before Xmas/Christmas, quite routinely.

It seems that British culture 'gets' Christmas in its own quirky off-centre way. Churches will be busy just shy of midnight on Christmas Eve with people who won't have stumbled through the doors since the last year. Yes, they might have had a drink, but a symptom of inebriation is not typically a zeal for an encounter with a deity. The retailers frame the importance that we innately hold for a day, and for a season, for which the meaning so often seems lost. Perhaps it was never lost, just rather it has become less religious. The press would have us believe that most of our little kiddies have no idea what Christmas is about; disavow yourselves of that idea now.

White vans will be hurling consumer durables around our streets for the next few weeks, all labouring under what seems at the face of it to be a rather odd deadline - the birth of Jesus Christ. They will never use that language, but in the end, they are selling to a market that regards Christmas as holy at some level or another, and of not holy, as special - the only day in the year that we ever work towards in this way.

1 comment:

  1. Hurrah to you for coming out against the 'false' celebration of Christmas. I absolutely hate the consumerism of Christmas. When people are starving all over the world it seems profoundly unjust to base the spirit of Christ's birth on price tags.



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