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8th November 2005

100% Gristle @ 11:50


This time of year, for over 25 years, I have been asked, as I am sure you have, "Wot do you want for Christmas?"



Thing is. Through those years I never seemed to get what I wanted. I've had things I wouldn't mind, things that I would have never thought of asking for and I've had things that I am grateful for. But recently I have been thinking hard about this Christmas malarkey. Like what's it all about? Alfie?

Aside from the celebration of the birth of some Arab kid with Caucasian looks 2000 years ago, Christmas has, in recent years, become a festival of greed and avarice. I started this thought route by thinking about what I wanted for Christmas, despite the fact that only 3 people ask me these days, to which I usually either shrug my shoulders or point people in the direction of my Amazon wish list. My point is I never get anything I really want anyway. Just things I would like. Things I covet.

Its like this. When I was younger I wanted a catapult. I don't know why. I just did. I suppose I wanted to be like Dennis the Menace (the one from Beano not the Merrycan, Mason Gamble imitation). I never got one. In fact the kids I knew that did ended up getting theirs confiscated or stolen by bullies. I suppose that also goes for the Atari Games Console. Instead I got a VIC20 (hey hey 16k what does that get you today? You use more than that for a letter) purely because my elder brother insisted that VIC20 was to be the future and C64 was a pile of arse (how wrong he was). Everyone else that year got Spectrum 48k's or, in the case of David "I'm such a teachers cocksucker" Griffiths, a BBC Micro. Still that was a long time ago and I'm not bitter about it. (Well maybe a teeny bit but I won't go into that). Basically, to my mind at least, Santa was as good at reading my letters (which I still send) as I was at my 8 times table. If I asked for computer games I got coats, videos - slippers, Aftershaves - funny little toy things that broke after 2 weeks, watches - socks. It was almost as if Santa has been ripping off kids with cheap tat and stuff they don't need or want. But I'm on to him. (I know he lives in my mum and dads house because I saw his stash of prezzies there and there's always reindeer shit behind the shed though (I didn't realise that reindeer were that small to be honest). So fuck Santa. Fuck him in the arse. If he thinks he's getting a mince pie and a glass of milk this year he can fuck off!

I have been thinking and as you know I, like prisoners in Wakefield Prison, have a lot of time to think (not, I might add, because I am in prison, but because my job allows me plenty of time to think). The tat and bollocks method of Christmas presents just doesn't work. Like do you still wear those socks that Auntie Beryl bought you two years ago? Do you still play with that Furby you whinged and whinged for? Do you look at that now empty bottle of perfume/aftershave and think "Hey Uncle Bob bought me that in 1993, I love Uncle Bob"

Do you fuck! The aftershave has probably long since been used, the Furby is probably on Ebay or at the Marie Curie shop with bits hanging off of it and the socks escaped to the Land-Where-Socks-Go-To-Die or have gone threadbare. See? Maybe you don't....so I will continue.

Lets look at what you might have bought people in the past couple of years. You could have bought you S.O. a nice book, bet they don't still read it. That tasteful pink crinoline lady toilet roll hider you bought for Auntie Maud? She thinks its the arse and has probably shoved it in a drawer somewhere. And how about that game of cribbage you bought for young Jimmy? There's probably bits missing and he hates you for getting it him because all he really wanted was a Cindytm or a My Little Pony Glue Factorytm. Search your inner most feelings young padawan...you know it to be true. They are as grateful for your Christmas presents as if you had given them a decomposing hippo.

Can you remember what you got for Christmas last year? I suppose some of you might (anal retentives!) yet I would suppose quite a few readers, me included, cannot recall straight off everything they got Christmas 2004. I think I got a book. Maybe occasionally someone will get you something so fantastic ,like Xmas 2002 I got a home brew kit, [I love my home brew kit (even though it is sat in the loft collecting dust because I haven't had the money to buy what I need to make my own beer)] if it is a truly well thought out prezzie people tend to remember.

A few years ago I bought my brothers some really cool clocks, they only cost a tenner but they were of interesting design and did look marvellous. These clocks now take pride of place on their side boards and I'm sure when they want to know what time it is my brothers look at their respective clocks and think "Hey, my little brother stegzy bought me that" and they will continue to do so until either the clocks break or they buy a digital watch. Presents like that last. Not cheap tacky musical socks or pickled oranges. They are but fleeting. The wife and I made mugs for everyone a few years ago too. True they might not be used as regularly as the bone china but there is nothing better than sipping hot tea out of a mug with your name written on the side. Is there?

In my heart I know that a present should be fondly thought of and treasured because that is what I would want. Something I can look or use time and time again and say to myself "Awww I remember when my old mum bought me these neon green musical furry dice". Not "ZOMG! Auntie Grendel is coming round where did you hide that 3-in-1 toaster-bread knife? She's bound to want to see the fucker".

Also people in this day and age, particularly in the western world, tend to be able to nip out and get the things they want for themselves rather than have to wait for Christmas. [Well in my case no. I tend not to spend money on clothes as I get shit loads of jumpers and tight fitting shirts at Christmas. I have no shame about wearing a shirt with a Santa logo on in the middle of July] So people tend to be hard to buy for as they already have everything. They then wonder why they get a Haynes Manual and a video on tractors instead of something useful. Therefore this year I am really putting my mind to it. Ideally I would like to buy or make something that will last for years and years. Something people will look at or use always and say "Aww remember Christmas 2005 when all I wanted was a DVD box set of Womble porn? And stegzy got me this? He was such a thoughtful chap. I shall treasure it always.". The gimme gimme gimme attitude of kids and people and the "Buy our overpriced cheap tat" attitude of the major high street retailers has, for me at least killed Christmas. It was once a day for thought and reflection, of the kindness of others and the joy of nice surprises.

You see its not just Christmas. Its all gift giving occasions. Birthdays, Bar Mitzvahs, weddings and funerals. My wedding was fortunate as we didn't get 78 toasters and a cake knife. We asked our guests to contribute to our honeymoon and they did. I will always remember my honeymoon (unless I develop Alzheimer's) in Madeira and I fondly remember all those that attended the wedding day but birthdays? Well don't get me going on birthdays.

I am cursed. Yes cursed with having a birthday in December. Worse than that....a week before Christmas. Now I don't want pity as there are people much worse off than me, Jim has his birthday on New Year and Charlotte, angelhands' sisters husband Brian, angelhands' mums bloke Stuey and my old nan all have birthdays that fall either side of Christmas day. You people born later or in the middle of the year are so lucky. You get proper birthday presents, proper birthday wishes and can have proper parties and stuff. Me? I get:-


  • "well I would get you a birthday pressie but its Christmas next week"

  • My birthday cards get swallowed up in the Christmas post and its not unusual to open a card expecting Christmas wishes only to find its a birthday card (don't know about you but I like to open my birthday cards on my Birthday....not 3 days before)

  • People at the pub are all full of "Yayyy yayy its Christmas" when they should be "Yayy yayy its stegzy's birthday



Its fucking arse. So this year I am having a good think about what I am going to buy people for Christmas and I'm not buying birthday presents any more. Ever.

Anyway I'm off on my lunch now.......Maybe I'll continue at a later date...
 
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[User Picture Icon]
From:zoefruitcake
Date:8th November 2005 04:02 (UTC)
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I hate Christmas.

I thought I'd get that in before I said anything else.
I'm sorry your parents didn't plan your birthday better (but I guess the mood just took them that night in March. Same for my friend, she has 3 kids, one on Christmas day, one on New years day. One in May - I don't know what they were thinking that year...) I'm very thankful my birthday is in sunny August, so I get a real birthday. Maybe they should make it possible to change your birthday, like you can with your name. Just pop down the town hall and come back with a birthday on the summer solstice and spend the longest birthday ever.
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From:stegzy
Date:8th November 2005 05:36 (UTC)
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That would be a good idea. I shall have my birthday on Christmas day that way I'd get more prezzies....oh...hang on...erm....no...I'll have to think about that...
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From:think4yrself
Date:8th November 2005 04:59 (UTC)
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I never much cared for the whole Christmas fuzz. In fact, I've always hated yuletide, really. It's a season of pretentiousness, hypocrisy, greed, and fake happiness.

Fortunately, I'll get to spend this Christmas alone with my Great Aunt, who's brilliant, and we can just relax and not mind any of the ridiculousness.
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From:stegzy
Date:8th November 2005 05:37 (UTC)
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Will your Great Aunt buy you novelty Christmas socks ?
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From:think4yrself
Date:8th November 2005 10:03 (UTC)
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We shall see... :)
From:lady_sybil
Date:8th November 2005 06:48 (UTC)
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I like Christmas, but I hate the commercialism that's taken over that means we've been building upto Christmas for the past 4 weeks already.

I don't think I've had a truely enjoyable Christmas Day since before my sister had the kids, though - the day gets taken over by my nieces and their toys are all through the living room, and while yes, Christmas should be for children, I don't appreciate being shoved into a corner (which is what happened last year).
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From:stegzy
Date:8th November 2005 06:56 (UTC)
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Nonononononononononooooo....Christmas isnt just for children....it should be for everyone. Except meanies and people who smell of camphor.
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From:orientalflower
Date:8th November 2005 07:00 (UTC)
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Well, there you have it. It's not supposed to be gimme, gimme, gimme! I spend ages dreaming up how I can make my loved ones smile through a present. Remember what I gave N last year?

Of course the drawback of putting so much effort into gifts is... how you're going to top it next year!!!

Alfie. Heh.
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From:stegzy
Date:8th November 2005 07:07 (UTC)
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Of course the drawback of putting so much effort into gifts is... how you're going to top it next year!!!

Indeed thats so true!

That poster/picture thing is a fantastic idea. A few years back angelhands Auntie Eileen made everyone Calendars with pictures of happy family times. The wife and I have been thinking of a reprise..
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From:orientalflower
Date:8th November 2005 07:19 (UTC)
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He's a news junkie, so it was doubly fantastic :D

Happy family times sounds brilliant. What better captures the true Christmas mood? :)
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From:trista
Date:8th November 2005 07:31 (UTC)
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a DVD box set of Womble porn?

I just choked on my coffee. Please, please, please tell me that Womble porn does not exist.
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From:stegzy
Date:8th November 2005 07:41 (UTC)
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Only in my sick sewer mind ;-)
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From:trista
Date:8th November 2005 07:44 (UTC)
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I'm glad to hear it. That would be a happy, innocent piece of my childhood gone horribly, terribly wrong! ;)
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From:thedabara
Date:8th November 2005 07:43 (UTC)
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Aric has a "thing" about what he calls "obligatory presents" : meaning, he hates giving them and really hates getting them. He'd rather there were no christmas presents and I jus got him something out of the blue that I knew he wanted. I can't just go out and buy something because he's not going to like it, probably.

I get it, though.

Usually I just tell everyone that I want money and then I always get what I want....
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From:stegzy
Date:8th November 2005 07:46 (UTC)
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My folks have opted for the money option this year. I'm in two minds about this.

One because yeah I can get something I need but two because it feels impersonal and I'll probably piss the cash up the wall or buy something I don't really need.
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From:thedabara
Date:8th November 2005 15:03 (UTC)
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True, true.....
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From:celticblissy
Date:8th November 2005 08:40 (UTC)
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Meep would really hate a birthday a week before Christmas.

*huggles*
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From:stegzy
Date:8th November 2005 08:43 (UTC)
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It really sucks....really it does....
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From:celticblissy
Date:8th November 2005 08:50 (UTC)
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Mine is 25th May so exactly 5 months after Christmas and 7 months before the next Christmas which is a very good period to fall in.
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From:stegzy
Date:8th November 2005 08:52 (UTC)
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Bet you get loads of prezzies....and I bet you can open your christmas cards without fear of a birthday card dropping out anorl.....

:-( Noffair
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From:celticblissy
Date:8th November 2005 08:54 (UTC)
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Awww hon.

Okay here's the plan. In your next life make sure when you reincarnate it is so that you are born on 25th June. :)
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From:stegzy
Date:8th November 2005 08:58 (UTC)
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Right....I'll try and do that....:-D
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From:celticblissy
Date:8th November 2005 08:59 (UTC)
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What sort of person you going to come back as? :)
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From:stegzy
Date:8th November 2005 10:09 (UTC)
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Definately a girl...they seem to have more fun ;-)
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From:celticblissy
Date:8th November 2005 10:10 (UTC)
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YAY!!!!
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From:smithphoenix
Date:9th November 2005 00:03 (UTC)
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I know what you mean. For financial reasons, I haven't bought anyone a christmas gift in a few years now. Instead, try to gather everyone together for the holidays.

Think the most memorable gift a friend got for me was a copy of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, a Roman Emperor, a translation, not the original book of course.

It made sense as that friend is very interested in history, especially roman history, and he said that when he read it, he immediately thought of me. In the front cover, he had written a message to me, and when he gave me the book, he said that he knew I wouldn't read it right away, but that I would when it was right for me.

It's still sitting on my bookshelf, unread, but the only way I will part with that book is over my dead body. :P


Please excuse any and all incoherence in the above, I'm drugged up with cold meds and unable to sleep.

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