Remember when Christmas used to be fun? You were a little kid, eating the daily portion of chocolate from your advent calendar and counting the sleeps until Santa would come and bring you presents. You’d leave him some biscuits and milk and, in return he’d give you that violent video game or a Bratz doll.
I don’t actually remember believing in Santa. I think I was only four when my dad told me the fat bastard wasn’t real. Dad didn’t like lying to me, he said, but I think he just wanted the credit for buying my presents. And fair enough- what kind of culture celebrates a mythological fat man dressed in a ridiculous red suit who, once a year, breaks into your house through the decommissioned chimney and leaves… presents. It reads like the plot line for the beginning of a bad horror film, not the pretence for the most celebrated day of the year.
And what exactly are the values that we are trying to impart on society’s children with this absurd and elaborate lie? That if you’re a good kid you’ll get a reward once a year? Not even the most naïve children believe this, and everyone knows it’s the brattiest kids who get the best presents. And as you get older, you realise Christmas has nothing to do with being good or bad- it’s just about buying shit you can’t afford for people who don’t need it.
By now you’re probably thinking, phwoar, whoever wrote this article is bitter as fuuaahk. Maybe his parents didn’t love him, or he was too poor to get Christmas presents, or he has an illogical fear of bearded men in red suits. Well, it’s none of the above, thank you very much. But I did work in a supermarket when I was a teenager, and it was enough to kill Christmas forever.
The worst part, by far, was the carols. They start in October. Jingle Bells, Silent Night, Away in a Manger and a handful of other heinous obscenities get played on repeat for your entire shift, every day for three months. Christmas carols on repeat. For. Three. Months. It’s nothing short of torture but you have to endure it.
And, to make things even more embarrassing, you’ve got to wear a ridiculous Christmas hat with your uniform. So you’re standing in the bright, air-conditioned aisles stacking boxes of Christmas cake on the shelves, wondering how this became part of Australian culture. The plastic packaging and Christmas cards display crappy cartoon scenes of snowy winter, decorated pine trees and Santa Claus and it’s 32 degrees outside.
As the 25th of December approaches, you can barely get the food on the shelves before it’s abruptly ripped down and plonked in the shopping trolley of a highly strung mum or dad. Some people are cheerful, but most are stressed, time-poor and making lame comments like, “Where did the year go?” or “I can’t believe it’s Christmas already.”
And you have to wonder: why is it that people consume six times the amount of food during the holiday period? Do they just like to watch the stock boys at the supermarket frantically trying to get the hunks of meat back on the shelves?
Are they simply trying to get fat? Or do they just need something to scrape into the bin after all the relatives have gone home?
Dear Christmas, you suck.