Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Timely Reflections

Clematis 'Freckles' brightening a gloomy winter day
Am I alone in being glad that the Christmas and New Year festivities are over for another 11 months? This time I have been particularly horrified by the consumerism and commercialisation of what is essentially a celebration of Jesus’s birth. There’s just been so much of it this time. I can’t remember the first time I saw something Christmassy for sale but it was certainly early. We’d been on holiday in early September and I don’t remember anything before that (though no doubt there was something out there somewhere) but I certainly saw Christmas cards for sale soon after we returned. Personally, I prefer not to think about Christmas at all until November. What I find particularly horrifying is the amount of conviviality portrayed on television advertisements, extended families laughing over a huge turkey with lashings of delicious looking vegetables, followed by the a flaming Christmas pudding. We all know the reality is that very often families fall out over Christmas (applications for divorce always reach a peak soon after as husband and wife find the strain too much). And there are many, many people even in this country who either can’t afford to splash out to such a degree or have no-one to share their Christmas with. One can only thank God for the charities that provide some kind of festivities for the homeless. Particularly heart-breaking are the frail and elderly who often have no more company over Christmas than the TV.

Speaking of which, what about all those adverts for giant and/or curved screen TVs for sale? Would buying a new TV mean better programmes? I think not. Apart from the Christmas special of Downton Abbey and the live performance of The Sound of Music, the programmes offered seemed to be the usual fair to mediocre. Christmases portrayed on TV seems to be installing a Christmas tree and a bit of tinsel on the sets of the soaps, throwing in a dose of misery, gloom and doom, and calling them Christmas ‘specials.’ Mind you, I must admit I’m a bit picky when it comes to watching TV at the best of times so I’m probably not the best judge of character. Neither do we subscribe to Sky, Netflix or Amazon Prime so we’re stuck with what’s on terrestrial TV or Freeview. I ask you, who wants to watch hour after hour of ‘Come Dine With Me’ or ‘Storage Wars.’

All this makes me sound a right old misery, but I can assure you I’m not. We don’t see our family at Christmas time, they live a distance away although we did see them either before or just after so not complaining. No, there was just the two of us for our usual quiet Christmas Day but we enjoyed it in our own subdued way. By 2nd January, the decorations had come down and we were back to normal, feeling glad it’s finished with for another 11 months. But now I see that the supermarkets are showing Easter Eggs for sale. Oh No!