Pretty festive for an Ebeneza

Anyone who knows me at all is well aware of my hatred of Christmas, but actually that’s not quite accurate. What I hate, even despise, is the consumerist nonsense that goes on around it. I simply cannot bear the fight to go shopping for normal foodstuffs for the entire month of December. The impossibility of parking. The shops full to overflowing with crap no one wants but will probably get because people can’t be bothered to make the effort to think what someone might actually want or need, and which will be shoved to the back of a cupboard, after a polite and gushing but totally inauthentic appreciation of said gift. I cannot stand the jolly revellers who get blind drunk in order to forget how miserable they really are, who may well kiss or even have sex with those they complain about for the rest of the year. The traditions which really aren’t, the apparent obligation to follow a whole set of nonsensical rules and rituals or be considered a miserable killjoy, whilst it being quite clear most of those doing it can’t actually stand either what they have to do or many of the people they end up doing it with. The debt people feel obliged to get into to be found acceptable, though to whom it’s hard to tell. Big business mainly.

So the fact I’m having three Christmasses might seem a little odd to the casual observer. I’ve already had one, and it was lovely. My older daughter and I, doing the sort of things that make it a loving and pleasing thing. Sharing a cosy day, cooking for each other and sharing a meal, opening the gifts we’ve lovingly chosen for one another and which we both love because they make clear how well we know each other, and watching crap on TV (there’s always crap on TV, whatever the time of year) in front of a roaring fire. Lovely.

I have another one on Thursday which will be similar but quite different, and then yet another one on the official day istelf. I’m looking forward to them. This is what it’s really all about to me. The rest of it can go to Hell.

 

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7 thoughts on “Pretty festive for an Ebeneza

  1. Why even call it Christmas then? The practice of gift giving and spending time with loved ones doesn’t require a motive or a label. Sadly, most of us are conditioned to the point where doing anything nice for one another only begs the question: “What’s the occasion?” That always gets under my skin because it implies that, had it not been for some calendar event, I couldn’t possibly have been so thoughtful of my own free will.

    • It doesn’t matter what it’s called. I think it’s quite nice to have a midwinter sharing, a Yule type thing, which is what Christmas started out as anyway. A coming together in the darkest time of year. I love to give, as you may (or may not) have realised, though much of it has nothing to do with objects or occasion. I spend time with loved ones when it suits us all year round. But there is something about the very essence of the festival, though it has precious little to do with the birth of any baby. Anyway, coming from a Jewish background Christmas wasn’t even celebrated by the majority of my family.

      This statement puzzles me a little:

      ‘That always gets under my skin because it implies that, had it not been for some calendar event, I couldn’t possibly have been so thoughtful of my own free will.’

      What does it matter what other people think? What do you want to do?

  2. Let’s suppose that I do nice things for others, quite arbitrarily, because of the joy that I draw from their gratitude. In that regard it matters what other people think, because if they didn’t think appreciative thoughts, or give you some indication to that effect, doing nice things would be as pointless as flicking yourself on the nose. What do you get out of it? Nothing. So don’t do it. Hence, if people have to stop and think about what it is that they owe this gesture to–aside from me simply trying to be nice–that kind of takes my unsolicited motivation out of the spotlight (and there goes my fun.)

    And this sort of strictly motive-based kindness has been so ingrained into some of us that, on certain days, you can end up in hot water for NOT having gone through the motions to do something nice–however meaningless–simply because everyone else has.

    I know this isn’t an especially eloquent analogy, but I hope it makes sense.

    • I do understand what you’re saying. However, there’s a huge difference between doing things for others because you enjoy their gratitude and doing things for others because it pleases you. I don’t really care if I’m appreciated or not (though of course it’s nice sometimes). I do what I do for me really, knowing that in small ways I’m changing the face of humanity. No one may ever know, and that doesn’t matter. What matters is the change. Giving is a reward whatever comes back. If you give purely for return or to fit in you aren’t giving at all, you’re bartering.

      Of course there’s pressure to do what everyone else does. But then again I give only what and when I want, and am usually uncomfortably (for others) honest, so the people around me know if I do or say something nice it’s because I mean it. That imo makes it a whole lot more valuable.

      • Oh, I’m aware of the difference. However, the pleasure that I get from giving has to be triggered by something beyond the initial gesture. (At least for me, personally.) Otherwise, I might feel just as good in dropping a $20 bill in the middle of the street, simply knowing that someone will find it. Granted, some people WOULD feel good doing just that, but my pleasure comes from the effect of the cause, not so much the cause itself.

  3. Sure. I enjoy both, though the initial action of conceiving the gift, finding or creating it gives me a lot of pleasure even if I still value the receivers pleasure. It depends on what you consider giving and whether it needs a material element or not. While a fair bit of what I do online is purely for myself some of it is also leaving that $20 bill in the street. I tend to find giving of ones time and effort more meaningful than giving something of financial value. Though of course the two can be bound up together.

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