You can tell Christmas is a completely man created event, devoid of any relevance to a higher power. It’s the animals that give it away. The animals don’t get excited. They don’t send Christmas cards to each other in November. They don’t treat Christmas Day differently to any other day.
The implications of knowing this, though, are less easily distinguished. I mean, it would be very hard to prove that everything man has created is bad, quite the opposite. Christmas is more than just a day, even more than an event. It’s a mental finish line for consciousness. You have to stop thinking sometime. Christmas is an annual life goal that helps keep time in perspective. Christmas keeps things interesting for people to prevent them from going insane. Interestingly though, animals also work every day of the year without any future holiday to anticipate.
After you leave childhood it’s hard to tell whether or not Christmas is that great though. When you hear the first Christmas carol on the shopping centre sound system in late October, and find Christmas decorations dangling around the products on the shelves, it’s difficult not to want to conform with the non-conformists, discard your plans for the holidays and announce that Christmas is too commercialised: the true meaning is lost on the ignorant saps; and it’s only purpose is to make money for big businesses.
I’ve been there; I’ve struggled with losing hope for humanity. I’ve wiped my arse with toilet paper that is printed with colourful Christmas emblems on it. If I wanted to shit all over Christmas I’d buy Marilyn Manson CDs and copies of the Koran for the people I’m obligated to buy gifts for.
But Christmas isn’t that bad. Sure it’s heavily commercialised, but seriously, what isn’t these days? It’s a time when humanity is nicer to each other and says “Merry Christmas” instead of goodbye. Like a disease, the Christmas Spirit, be it goodwill towards mankind or Jack Daniels at the workplace Christmas Party, brings people closer together.
Ah, the modern day Christmas. These days I spend them with family, sort of. This year, after gifts and breakfast, I went to lunch in the Royal Botanical Gardens with my Step-Mothers family. Ah, it was nice to meet them all finally. I mean, nice to meet them finally again, because I meet them every Christmas for the first time. As I walked towards our picnic spot, carrying a few chairs, I passed my step-grandmother and, as it was our first intersection for this day and year, I smiled and said “Hello, Merry Christmas, how are you?” because I am courteous and polite.
She hesitantly replied that she was ok, then, as it became apparent that we were both approaching the same picnic spot, it dawned on her that I was actually there to have lunch with her and she apologised for not being more personable. I said it was alright, because I am courteous and polite. I understand it’s confusing, Christmas is a time where, when your extroverted father starts friendly small talk about weather to the people he parked next to in the gardens’ car-park, it is hard to tell whether these are friendly strangers or interconnected family members with whom you are about to share a meal and eventually a game of cricket with.
So I could excuse this behaviour, even from someone who had the effrontery to give me a gift with the tag “Love Grandma” on it. I mean she did give a gift after all, a similar one to my gift box of chocolates that confectionary companies sell as nice gifts you can give to people you don’t know or really like.
Then we had lunch, and it was quite nice. I had pork, chicken, ham, turkey and some roast-beef. These foods were all of course accompanied by sidings of salads, sea-foods, condiments and the like. It was quite a delicious, sunny meal that made small talk easier because you were allowed to fill the awkward pauses with eating. Then I went home, somewhere after finding out that the laundry basket of random groceries that I carried from Crazy Step-Auntie Debbie’s car was actually her gift to five people, including me. And there was a crazy free for all as five of us harvested the basket for takings, passing over water crackers, pasta mix and dried fruit to find some good stuff. I was satisfied by the amount of intrigue that present gifted my psyche.
Once home I was faced with another onslaught of people who are family of the person who is married to my parent. Within hours the house was filled with Wellingtons, and they all brought food. And so I ate lamb, pork, chicken, ham and more potato salad and vegetables while discovering that pretty much all of Marks family look identical except they all have varying levels of baldness. It was like that episode of the Simpsons where Flanders has that barbeque with all his relatives. Except instead of all the different social stereotypes it was, yeah, the baldness.
Finally I escaped the throng of people and got to Josh’s house, where eating all day, kicking arse at Jenga and hitting my head twice made me sleepy. And as I lay there, with practically the cooked contents of a children’s petting zoo in my stomach, I realised why it was that the animals don’t like Christmas, and why I do.