Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas countdown...

Can't believe December is (almost) here already.

There is always something magical about a million dazzling Christmas lights against the velvet blackness of a wintry sky. One cannot help but admire the sight of all these lovely twirling twinkles - however gaudy, and all environmental scruples aside...

There is something strangely comforting about the military precision required to keep track of all the checklists and to-do lists - to make the card-mailing deadlines, to make use of this-weekend-only bargains, to find the most fantastic outfits, to get all Christmas groceries ordered, to decorate the house just-so, and not forgetting to keep one's gifts wrapped and hidden...

There is even something awe-inspiring about the insane mad rush, as both shops and shoppers conspire to achieve that impossible dream of giving the right gift - a material token of your complex feelings to those you love and care, and even to those you simply like to give the impression that you care... (At least this year, thanks to the global financial meltdown, there's no longer talk of having to get "stocking-fillers" as well as proper pressies).

There is, at the end of the day, something genuinely touching about the sheer effort and industry expended by the entire human race in this holiday season - even as we complain about its utter pointlessness and wastage, and even if all the frenzy and panic are merely induced by cynical commercialism...

For the collective human race has for millenia decreed that the darkest winter nights should not translate as a time of withdrawal and resignation - of hibernating in our own little caves, of people being left to their own devices, of saving what little we have to try to outlast the bitter, bitter cold...

No! The spirit of Christmas (or more to the point the tradition surrounding the winter solstice rather than the celebration of the birth of Christ per se) is about creating ONE BIG ALMIGHTY FUSS - to remind us all that we won't ever, EVER, however tempted, go gentle into that good night...

Even if all we have to fight away the winter gloom are our very own feeble artificial lights...

Merry Christmas. (It's early, I know. But hope this finds you well wherever you are.)

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