December 14, 2016 by Cláudia
Not particularly Christmas day, more so the whole Christmas season. The lights, the songs, the whole spirit of solidarity, the consumerism… It grinds my gears.
The crux of it, probably, is that I think it is hypocritical. People who don’t care throughout the whole year suddenly participate in a ton of charity events, volunteers keep approaching you on the streets asking for money for a million different causes and give you the evil eye if you don’t give anything (you must be very insensitive if you don’t help people in need in Christmas), the TV fills up with images of poverty, diseases and social problems – and campaigns to solve those problems. Suddenly, it seems like everyone cares about everyone else and everyone wants to give.
It seems like Christmas season is a sort of moral bubble in which everyone needs to tend to others in order to feel good about themselves while still being egocentric and selfish the rest of the year. While caring for social causes is normal in this season, it is abnormal in the rest of the year. The same people who give give give, turn their faces to the same issues later on. And not just individual people, but companies (and big companies): they make big campaigns to raise huge amounts of money, and then proceed to only care about profit.
Families come together even when they don’t get along normally. Everyone just cares about everyone all of a sudden. And everyone pretends to be the best person possible.
Paradoxically, everyone also goes on a frenetic shopping spree. Stuff is bought compulsively. Stuff that is most likely not environmentally sustainable, stuff that was made by underpaid women or exploited children in third world countries, stuff that was a result of the suffering of people and animals. Children are given way to many toys to play with. People buy things for friends and family, even if they haven’t made much time for them throughout the year. Sweets are eaten excessively. Food is eaten excessively. Everything is very excessive.
Excessive means also unsustainable. It wouldn’t be possible to spend this amount of money every month – Christmas is always that time in which the bank accounts suffer from severe decrease. After the New Year, things need to go back to “normal”, people focus on themselves again, save money.
Christmas is a time of redemption, I’ve understood. Redemption for selfishness, for not making time for loved ones, for not giving. But it is such a temporary redemption that can only come off as hypocritical and useless. On Christmas, homeless people get blankets, Christmas dinners and presents, but the rest of the year don’t even get a greeting, a warm smile. The world needs caring everyday of the year, yet it only gets a few weeks of delusional charity. People forget that hunger strikes everyday and a meal doesn’t fight hunger for the whole year. Same goes to every other charity.
I’ve written another post about Christmas, in which I admire how our society can almost unanimously become selfless in a short interlude and wish it could extend to the rest of the year. But maybe, more than extend it, we should recognize how useless and pointless is it. And then create a new feeling of solidarity that is sustainable, genuine and personal altogether.