Post-truth, let's put up more twinkling Christmas lights!
Thu, 15 December, 2016
Festive season - which I like to call Christmas, in the non-diverse, non-inclusive and untrendy manner. I know all the Scrooge-like moans of how commercialised it is and how the shop action starts earlier and earlier each year - I used to think much along the same lines. After all it has nothing to do with the original religious celebration - as say people never awfully religious, just adopting the high horse attitude. And it doesn’t have the same flavour for kids as it used to - they’ll be off on their social media just like every day.
But something’s different this year, I’m much more optimistic and looking forward to the festivities, even though it will involve slaving by the hot oven while my lot are quaffing prosecco or crémant. I’ve got the tree up already and have charitably approved of its position (in the kitchen, practically - seeing as most of my ground floor is kitchen now) and its garish decorations. Heck, I’ve bought two lots of twinkling lights to put up outside!
And it’s not only me - our street has gone mental too and I don’t mean families with young kids. Posh lights in the garden to the west, merry blue lights on the tree to the east, wreaths on every door and Christmas trees peeking through the windows. We’ve yet to feature an illuminated reindeer but the neighbours four houses down have two!
Food is as ever uppermost in my house and I suspect Christmas Day gatherings chez nous do not entirely owe their popularity to our personal charm. There are usually games as well and once we all even ventured out on a post-lunch walk (not repeated again as yet). I usually cook poultry of one kind or another as I value beef too high to risk spoiling it on Christmas Day. It’s looking like it will be duck this year - a jolly nice tested recipe too. My new oven should be big enough to fit the two birds necessary to feed the party - I know, I’ve tried fitting two teddy bears in…
There will be just small token presents as everyone is skint. I’m glad - the first world problem of what to buy for people who don’t need any more stuff has disappeared for this year and I can focus on candles, bath salts and chocolates, or even more trivial presents if I can find any.
So what has changed I wonder? I used to dislike Christmas, or at least disdainfully participate in the festivities bearing an ‘it’s SO not me’ expression. I used to sigh resignedly when the enthusiasts in my family squealed and yay-ed about the tree and the decorations. I would complain about the mountain of food resulting either in waste or in indigestion and I was invariably grateful to welcome January. And now? You know, I might actually watch the Queen’s speech.
I’m not sure what has changes as let’s reiterate: it’s not just me. Perhaps we are all getting childish-senile around here. But I think it’s more than that. What are you to do when the most bizarre political prophecies are coming true? When there is not a leader in sight in the western world that might offer a hope of common sense and reason, even in four or five years’ time? When wars rage fought by puppets animated by gangsters and monsters? When you see human misery become cannon fodder for both the bleeding hearts and the ruthless border guards? When the thugs are taken literally and the clowns seriously? In the time of post-truth?
What’s left is the escapism adopted when the real world becomes a caricature of itself. That’s when the issue of whether Santa prefers milk or sherry becomes paramount - and rightly so. Ho, ho,ho!