By Fiona Lee
Christmas time can be a difficult thing to swallow sometimes. At the risk of sounding like the SIN Grinch, there are some aspects of this holiday that I sincerely dread; however, these tend to mix with things that I also adore. It’s a complicated relationship. Feelings of conflict between joy and nausea surround these winter months.
The music always comes first. Even before Christmas FM launches in December, shops and department stores begin to play the usual Christmas carols in the hopes that our shopper’s anxiety surrounding the gift buying season kicks in a little bit early. There are some classics that one simply can’t find sickening and a few that are karaoke favourites, however the atmosphere in which they create cause a shopping frenzy and remind me of the catastrophic damage that is about to happen to my bank account. It’s a sad association that comes with growing up and Christmas isn’t just making a long list of your most wanted plastic things.
In saying that, Christmas music can also send us into a fit of festivity, when we start to picture the Christmas Market in Eyre Square and ice skating in Salthill. We feel the hot chocolate brewing in our stomachs and we look back on our memories of Santa, reindeer and carrots with fondness. It gets you in the mood for a month – long party full of friends and family in a bopping sort of way! Plus, while some may be sickening, we all have our long – standing favourites cough ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ cough.
The hype surrounding the holiday is one to marvel at, especially since celebrations seem to begin earlier and earlier each year. There was no time to blink this year between the Macnas Halloween Parade and the Christmas lights going up in the city centre. Excellent! We get to celebrate Christmas for even longer! Or we stretch and milk the festive feeling so much that by the time Christmas Day actually comes along, it feels like more of a disappointing ending than something we were actually looking forward to.
I love the Christmas Market, I love the twinkly lights and going for chai lattes in wooly hats with friends, but can November not have its time? Might we appreciate Christmas more if it doesn’t carry on for twice as long? But when will RTÉ start playing Home Alone and The Grinch on loop?
Giving and receiving gifts is a lovely feeling to share with friends and family. I personally love going out buying gifts; trying to be creative and thoughtful in my choices (sometimes just funny). A part of me does remember though, the clutter that already exists in my room and the thought of bringing more lovely but cluttering items in. Is it wasteful to buy so many gifts to show love and affection when it is incredibly likely that we all have too much already?
It’s a personal struggle, as no one doesn’t like being gifted something pretty and frivolous that they never would have treated themselves to, but are they worth the trigger of a big ‘Spring Clean’ by February? Perhaps the culture surrounding gifts should be altered into something more positive; treat your friend to dinner and time spent together instead of that sparkly thing from Penneys. Or maybe I want the sparkly thing. Oh dear.
Christmas is a hard and amazing time of year. Music grates and greets us. Expectations are met and anticipation teases. Gifts are given, and money is spent (oh, God, the money). There are little, annoying things about the holiday season but all in all there is great fun in family, friends, boxes of sweets and absorbing the atmosphere of the city in celebration. Mostly. I suppose.
Photo by Chuck Coker on Flickr