Humbug season

I get round to blogging in this way every year. I am not a fan of Christmas. I have no issue with spiritual Christians celebrating the birth of Jesus – that’s their festival and they have every right to get on with it. What drives me nuts, is this other thing. This celebration of gluttony and excess in which we are supposed to spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need to give to people we don’t even necessarily like with a side order of a lot of wasted food and a frightening amount of rubbish destined for landfill.

Every year, I get more hostile to the whole process and my desire to get away from it grows.

I’ve made myself a promise therefore, that this is going to be the last year in which I do anything conventional around Christmas. The boy is ten, and able to cope with the idea, and I think also conscious of the same issues. He’s too environmentally aware not to be uneasy about the waste and excess, even while he does like getting presents. We’ve talked a lot about making good memories rather than owning more things.
What would happen if we took a tiny fraction of the money spent on things that will never be used, or played with, and did something else with it? What if that money went to people who have nothing, who are homeless, hungry, and suffering around the world? What would happen if ‘keep things out of landfill’ got hardwired into the Christmas message? Hard to imagine that one. Tis the season to generate a great deal of junk. What about all the animals who are still given as gifts, despite, surely, everyone knowing that this is not a clever time to get a puppy or a kitten?

I’ve sung a lot of Christmas carols down the years – I like community singing and it’s a great way to raise money for good causes. I notice all those messages about peace and goodwill. I don’t remember a single carol about getting drunk, eating too much, trying to be polite about unwanted gifts and throwing far too much in the bin on Boxing day. I remember Good King Wenceslas taking things to peasants, and I remember tidings of comfort and joy, and I keep thinking how far off the mark we are, so often.

If you want to do Christmas, please, please reclaim it as something warm and human and get away from this orgy of commerciality and irresponsibility.

In the meantime, I’m plotting what I’m going to do next year, when I’m not going to be living in the middle nowhere and my scope to be useful should be much improved. And I’m trying not to feel too horribly frustrated about what I’m not able to do this time around.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

10 responses to “Humbug season

  • Graeme K Talboys

    On top of all that, what gets my goat (poor thing, what has it ever done?) are all the vicars who write letters about how pagan Christmas has become because of all the excess and waste, blah blah. We don’t need lights one our tree as I always get incandescent when I read that.

  • Elizabeth Rimmer

    I think if you look into the Wassailing carols, there’s a whole lot about eating and drinking and having a good time (no wonder the Puritans hated them) – and a lot more about justice and levelling up the lives of the poor too for that matter. Take your point, however. We make it too – but I quite like the sensual indulgence and extravagance of it all – up to a point, anyway. It’s a way we can share our happiness with people who don’t accept our premises, and celebrate the material bit of our nature. Too often us Christians try to be too spiritual for our own good! Much happiness, Nimue!

  • Natalie Reed

    I too had decided that there was entirely too much “stuff” being passed around this time of year to be good for anyone. I tried making gifts for a few years, after all the hard work they seemed to be unappreciated. This year I decided I was not giving “stuff”. I bought event items mostly. Tickets to plays, movies, dinners. This gives someone a night out, a memory, rather than just more “stuff” made somewhere else for likely low wages.

  • Chris Funderburg

    Mrs Brown, I’ve noted that such posts are indeed an annual tradition for you. My regard for you and yours is so high that I always refrain from challenging the (rare) posts I disagree with. In this case though I propose to make a counter tradition of my own:

    For each such “humbug” post from now until one of us leaves this world I shall wish you a merry christmas, and raise an extra glass of the finest Kraken rum in your honour to offset your lack of christmas cheer.

    Merry Christmas and a happy Yule. /|\

  • Michael Peterson

    Right on!

  • Alex Jones

    I have the same feeling about Christmas as you do. I have for a few years stopped celebrating Christmas. I instead celebrate the Winter Solstice.

  • Autumn Hazelhewn

    This is my last Christmas doing anything conventional. My family loves the holiday with all of its excess and gluttony. Next year however, I won’t be in this province so I’m taking it in stride. Also, next year I won’t be in retail so I hopefully won’t have to deal with this insanity for 2 months longer than most people.

  • harold

    My new years resolution is next year I will be true to my pagan values and not contribute to the market mentality maddness of xmass humbugery . good to hear others are thinking likewise

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