The two of us will admit we’re usually scrooges around Christmas time. One of us say “Bah Humbug!”, and both of us roll our eyes and say, “Is it?” in the most passive-aggressive Singaporean way.
Christmas (and most festivals for that matter) is shrouded in myths and made-up icons. For example, Christmas is celebrated as the day when baby Jesus was born. There is a consensus among historians, many of them Christians, that December 25 was not the day of Jesus’ birth. Not only is the date of his birth debatable, historians can’t even agree on the season. Some say autumn, some say spring. Furthermore, Christmas has its origins in pagan festivals and the celebration of the winter solstice. Speaking of winter solstice, the Chinese celebrates it on 21 or 22 December.
Somehow along the way, the Christian commemoration mixed with the pagan festival, mixed with Christmas movies, songs, and department stores to create this modern Christmas which can be anything and everything to everyone. It is now a global festival that people of all nationalities and religious inclination can and do celebrate in some sense…if you even take a lick of a candy cane, you’re guilty!
So out of this crazy mix, there are a lot of things we don’t like about Christmas. The massive consumerism fuelled by retail hype, excessive partying and socialising, and the stress of having to buy presents for people who already have everything and don’t actually need more.
Having said that, there are some things about Christmas that we like and which keep us somewhat reluctant celebrants. We like the concept of the “true spirit of Christmas” – that it is a time to be with friends and family; it is a time to renew friendships and strengthen bonds.
We like the idea that Christmas is a time to think beyond ourselves. This is the time of year when we think about what gifts we can give to others: to friends, workers, family who have helped us in the year. And at the same time we think about what gifts can we give to people (or dogs or cats) that we do not know…people who are struggling, people who find it hard to get through a day, let alone a year.
Well, overall, we like the idea of the spirit of Christmas although we struggle with some of the realities of the festivity.
This is probably our last post of the year; we’re planning some interesting posts for 2018. Meanwhile, here’s wishing everyone reading a meaningful Christmas and all the best for the new year!
~ Jaime and Stephanie