Advent Vent

I make no apologies for announcing that on this day, Monday 20th November, Christmas has officially begun…

…to get on my tits, and I will happily accept the deserved label of Big Fat Hairy Green Grinch.

Let’s make that a hand made lino-printed label, artfully finished with washi tape and laser cut snowflake, attached, with a bow of candy-striped butchers twine, to my seasonally cinnamon-frosted tits, for only £9.99.

I remember back in September 2007, when my dear friends R & K were preparing for a Phileas Fogg type adventure, one of their parting shots was, “Thank God we’ll miss all those bastarding DFS Christmas sofa commercials!” I suddenly felt a special pang of envy about their escape.

Don’t get me wrong, I would feel weird and sad about being far away from all my friends and family during the feast of Christmas. The heady scent of singed mince pies and mulled wine and the waft of Norfolk Bronze roasting to the strains of King‘s College Choir gets my festive juices flowing just as much as the next crazy, financially crippled Santa-hatted consumer. But what really gets my glitter-dusted red-nosed goat is the utterly mental hysteria that surrounds all the preparation for what is, let’s face it, a rational one-day, pagan festival superimposed by a Church celebration of a mythical miracle baby. Neither of these traditions seem to matter any more.

At this stage in my life I sit quite comfortably on the rickety fence between the moon gazing, mistletoe waving Druids on one side and the good hearted, God-fearing folk of my particularly benign corner of the York Diocese on the other. As you might know from previous posts, the summer solstice does funny things to me, but equally I can think of nothing more reassuring, when all the sprouts have been criss-crossed, and the last present wrapped, than a starlit walk through the village to a candlelit Christmas evensong service.

But the urgent, haranguing hype and pitiless consumer pressure of ‘Christmas’ endured since October, has turned me off the whole shebang altogether. Year on year it seems to be heading towards a monumental crescendo that spells disaster. We are sleepwalking into bankruptcy at the will of advertisers, retailers, and lifestylers, and the excess just keeps out-doing itself. It’s enough to make me consider life as an ascetic recluse, except that I do rather enjoy pigs in blankets, and board-games.

It appears I’m not alone. Marketing managers are starting to panic. Recently I read the following headline: Blockbuster ads fight product promotions for shrinking Christmas spend. And yet, the sneaky buggers are even capitalising on our grumpiness by selling us ‘Anti-Christmas Merchandise’! Are they mad?

A discussion on BBC Radio 4 this morning got me raging. Get this; vlogger, lifestyle guru, and Rose’s vision of God made flesh, Zoella, bless her, has launched a 12 day advent calendar, available in Boots for a mere £50. (See hilarious review here) Now to begin with, my children grew up in the mistaken belief that an Advent Calendar is a beautiful piece of printed ephemera with tiny doors behind which you find enchanting little scenes of festive wonder. As a child I fondly remember how my own parents found beguiling and memorable advent calendars for me to hang on my bedroom door every 1st December, and I emphatically continue that tradition with the help of brilliant designers such as Angela Harding and Emily Sutton (see above). But, as it turns out, I am a vile meany for doing so. Ever since they could assimilate TV commercials and discuss parental failings with spoilt school chums, the children have branded me a Horrible Mummy for failing to provide each of them with a lurid cardboard box containing a shrink-formed plastic tray of lumpy dollops of cheap chocolate, so that, as they count down the days to their massive chocolate-induced present-ripping frenzy, they can eat chocolate EVERY DAY before breakfast. Except that now, now that’s simply not enough. It has to be a present behind each door, because clearly there won’t be enough presents to satisfy them on 25th December.

And DON’T GET ME STARTED on the entire pretty Pinteresty, Instagrammy-hammy, do it your-selfie wealthy, prosecco & spiced gin-induced guff that is touted in the name of ‘Christmas’.

In a cynical attempt to bring Christmas back to ‘how it used to be’ we are all now expected to drag branches in from the woods and spray them white so that they look marvellous when we string them with fairy lights and individually hand-wrapped trinkets and treats for our little darlings to litter their bedroom floors with for advent.

I will consider myself a complete failure as a woman, and a mother if I don’t make time to go beach combing for driftwood with which to assemble my own unique and stylish Christmas tree, complete with edible glass baubles, and hand sewn gingham effigies of my family, (not forgetting needle-felted replicas of Badger & Ginge)

…And breathe.

All this started weeks ago. By the time I hear that plaintive first note of Once In Royal David’s City on Christmas Eve I will be swaying nauseously like a bulimic who’s swallowed a gargantuan family-sized selection-box of unappetising, synthetic chocolate coated Olaf-shaped marshmallow fondants.

May God, or Frigg, give me strength.

#humbug #christmas #consumerism #adventcalendars #grinch #christmasspirit #whokilledchristmas #marketing #sofaads #hermitlife

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