In years gone by, the hullabaloo surrounding Christmas has generally annoyed me. Not so this year, at worst I've been ... ambivalent. I've put a lot of this down to not having a TV, not listening to the radio much and reading the newspapers, mostly online. And these things are, indeed, part of it.
Over the past week or so I've begun to wonder if there's been another contributing factor though.
One of the things that annoyed me, was the commercialism. I'm more than happy for Christmas to exist as time to get together with family and have a big slap up meal and generally catch up. It's good not to lose touch with your past and your family are the ones who have known you for longest. When one is extorted for several weeks before hand to buy buy buy and get into the spirit of things, life becomes about putting on a mask of unnatural cheer, stress and stretching your budget to the limit and buy, buy, buy. None of this holds any attraction for me, to be continually bombarded with advertising telling one smile and buy does much to encourage me to everyone to sod off.
As I've wandered around town these past few weeks though, the advertising, both the specifically christmas advertising and the normal day to day advertising has struck me as irrelevant. They feel like relics of a bygone age that haven't quite caught up with the world. I'm quite willing to admit that this is almost certainly a construct of my own worldview placed over top of what the world actually is. I've little doubt that most people regard it all as quite normal. The past year though has been a busy one. Protests around the world have given me hope that societies are beginning to realize that money, while important, should not be the be all and end all of our economies. Fairness is important. There is nothing inherent in a job that justifies one person earning minimum wage while another takes millions for failing to bring greater profits to their company. There is nothing inherent in a person that justifies one living in poverty while another can want for nothing. Life is not all about wanting a newer toy.
And that realizing that life is not all about the toys just make the advertising seem ... pointless. Not everyone has realized this yet. Certainly not the advertising industry (though I do wonder how they will/would cope with a world that is based around need rather than want. The general population as a whole certainly hasn't come to this conclusion yet. It's entirely possible that not everyone will and that our societies will lapse back into a comatose state until everything crumbles around us. I hope not though. I hope that the world continues to wake.