As panic attack bells toll during our self-inflicted doomsdayesque Christmas Day countdown and the festive season forays and frenetic fits of frenzy that follow it let’s pause and recall that magical message “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
True, there is some nonsensical hype to the valorization and gregarious praise of a festivity which not all of us prescribe to performing and perpetuating. To some it will be a religiously saturated fête, to others a statute holiday haaa if you’re blessed, to others a family catch up and for the wee ones especially the anticipation of a gargantuan galore of gift unwrapping.
Far from trying to uphold an ancient Christian relic, I am excitedly open to the veneration of the way in which this holy occasion has morphed to celebrate the hybridity of humanity. Every year, I have been astounded by the ever-increasing fabulous fashions in which Xmas has taken on new meanings to new people.
That said, there has always been a dark cloud cast over this period particularly in the devastating ways in which it has highlighted the less than desirable antics of those who undeniably are devoid of the Christmas Spirit. Domestic violence is a perennial pity, abuse directed towards animals is a constancy and depression can run rife. Soaring suicide rates stagger and alcohol fueled fracases repeatedly contribute to hospitalizations, road rage, rampages and high road related mortalities.
Surging costs part society into the divisive Haves and Have Nots classes and far from putting Peace on Earth. Christmas can make us a mean and malicious mob. I’m not just referring to mall mania but the sniggering sense of self-importance we feel when we make consumption our faith par excellence. Basing our moral essence upon how dapper the gifts we give or upon how swift we swipe our VISAS is a shallow cop out for really celebrating life. After all, symbolically speaking Christmas is an additional annual birthday which we get to celebrate whether we wish to make it about Jesus or well just about Life itself.
If I embrace this evaluation from the narcissistic angle, this ceremony would be an encore of self-glorification an egotistical private pomp. On the flipside, Tinsel time could and should reflect a more pluralistically altruistic purpose to party. Whatever your MO for reasoning and mental digestion, Noel does provide justification for reveling in having been alive to relish and savour another revolution around the cosmic odometer clock. You have accomplished this feat by yourselves and even more so with the companionship of others. This continued coexistence is cause for celebration. Your presence is your biggest blessing in sum You are lucky to be alive.
While you might not ever wield that racy sport car of your deepest dreams, fit that designer swim suit because they are fitted for model automatons who have forgotten the ecstasy of a fast food binge or have the dosh to splurge on a Seychelles escape you nonetheless are ordained with more wealth than what you initially perceive. Yes, I know, we still won’t have that high-performance vehicle, unrealistic media distorted bod or those glamorous getaways at the conclusion of each sacred season that passes but while our consumptive choices may be contained, it is important to never forget the open plain of options afforded to us by our Democratic liberty and free will.
Far from pining and whining over the things that are beyond our clutches isn’t it time we responded in awe at the diverse delights of our choices and possessions in the here and now? As a free and independent citizen with rights and a degree of socioeconomic and political power, I have a respectable amount of self-determining dignity to delegate the direction of my decisions and overall life course. While I may indeed live in an imperfect world of odd, irregular and unjust injustices, for all intents and purposes it would be far more advantageous and schematically sensible to my psychophysical roundness of health to see my life glass as half full rather than half empty. After all, in all my years on this pebble I have learned one very important lesson, there may be a lot of people far better off in the world but there are undeniably a hell of a lot far worse off than myself also.
Far from worrying about the lack of power you have to change what not, isn’t it time we started rejoicing the democratic possessions that we do already exercise? As we carefreely congregate with our convoy of colleagues and our fellow kinsmen of the clan rather than bemoaning what Santa or Jesus isn’t bringing for us shouldn’t we show some decency and gratitude for all the constancy that they have shown throughout the year.
For in all earnestness, while I may not be getting that latest I Pad or I This or I That I am and should genuinely be content with the day in and day out blessings that we all seem to take for granted. My car is indeed a bomb but with a twist here and a tweak here it still takes me where I long to go. My bulging bod may never grace the pages of Vogue but it is without doubt the greatest instrument that I will ever possess. It enables me to run, embrace and think with it. While I’m no Einstein or Usain Bolt, others live their lives devoid of many of these faculties. Imagine not being able to see, hear, feel or taste. Luckily, I do not need to.
While I am not financially swimming in a copious sea of afluenza I can hardly complain about not being solvent. I do a largely laborious job that is rather handsomely remunerated. While I may be seen as just run of the mill ordinary middle class Joe here in NZ my status would seem princely and indeed regal in many impoverished parts of the world.
You have food! You have a car! Your body still has arms and other limbs attached to it!! Jeez you ARE a King! Yes yes I hear you say but you probably did put a bit of umph into getting to where you have in life. Well, to my credit yes yes I have. But to claim all the accolades of my entire life would be a risible gaffe. After all I had a little luck along the way with factors I could never ever have controlled. I never ever chose to be born in NZ it just so happened that that’s what succeeded. As was the fact that I was born into a hard-working family that valued education, nourished me and helped to give me a socially desirable identity.
I was born sound, I was born white and I was born male. I do wish to convey these last 3 elements in a undeniably pejorative light specifically and undoubtedly to reinforce the fact of just how hard it is for the physically mentally challenged, non-Caucasian and women to compete in a world still largely governed by the generic white man. They are sad blessings no doubt but still advantages that I am unfairly in possession of.
My point is not for you to ascertain how much lower or higher you are than me or Prince Harry on the sociofinancial food chain. It is merely to remind you that even in the most dire of circumstances there is always an even more drastically worst case scenario.
As one friend once told me, he loved tennis so much but was heartbroken by how seemingly inept he was at playing the game. Even I could comprehensively trounce him. Yet it wasn’t until he met one guy at a bar without arms that he realized how privileged he really was. This pub patron poignantly pointed out “you may suck as an opponent but at least you get to play”. How wise and fitting a philosophical assessment.
This Xmas let’s say hosanna for the food we have! Let’s say hallelujah for the treasures we possess, amen for the people and pets who share our lives and above all cherish the life that we do have. Let’s not forget to appreciate the artistry and carnival of Xmas and efforts and immense amounts of energy and enterprise people put into making the occasion timeless.
Love every morsel of beauty that you see hear touch taste and smell. Never forget the souls of Natales past and be generous in your prayers for the departed. Chances are that your Navidads will have been much more leisurely and luxuriant than your poor old grandparents.
But above all if you can do something for the living and those less well situated than yourselves, give what you can, no matter how little what little you do will seem like a Christmas miracle to those taken aback by such unexpectedly welcome kindness and charity. Charity may begin in the home but once it is unleashed it can bring about an inundation of social solidarity. Xmas has the mystical ability to unleash a magical myriad of fantastical scenarios.
I often recall how my ratbag friends and I feared having to retrieve our various sporting apparatuses and balls from Ms Mundy the resident neighborhood witch’s house. Only one of my more assiduously astute friends plucked up the courage to face this invented monster to realize she wasn’t an evil child eating succubi after all. She was a sweet old lonely lady who loved baking especially for very cheeky and rather silly little Boys.
Regardless of what your belief is and what the traditionalists decree the debate of what constitutes as the real meaning of Xmas is something that should be entrusted into the Democratic free right we as citizens have to choose for ourselves what we ourselves wish to nobly obtain from this communal commemoration. Every year that passes I tend to gleefully regard what our ancestors called a Christian Christmas as a new age hippy beautifully bastardized beast.
For me, the day is the melting pot where Saturnalia meets Harvest Day whom then introduces herself to Earth Day whom then succeeds to present themselves to Thanksgiving Day. Christmas Day is all that and more to me and while I’m sure that the real Santa is a likeably cordial chubby chap the modern metaphor of the fat greedy white generic Santa abusing Third world elves to make toys for insatiable little first world gluttonous brats makes my blood boil. Surely, we have not plummeted to such social shallowness and selfishness.
As I brace myself for a holiday season of beach dune recovery awareness and sea plant sowing I hope you all find what brings you true joy, ecstasy and love this Christmas. And if you are still persistently pondering over your placement in the Homo socio food pyramid chain here’s some errr food for thought, not every perspective from the peak is a pleasurable one.
I have a modelling acquaintance who can attest to that. For while he earns more than me, is physiologically finer sculpted than me and is socially more connected than me his standing on the summit is far more revealing than my own. In spite of his higher financial intake, his figure and the way social media speaks (that cruel judgmental beast) self-preservation of one’s social standing dictates that he (more so than moi) will still have to dedicate a substantial part of his vacations to staying in shape. As for me, I won’t be worrying as much about my bulging body. Well, at least not until January. Eat, love and pray and glory in the unique wonder that is you. Your paddock may be greener than you first imagined.