I know, I know. Christmas is a capitalist scam that creates tonnes and tonnes of landfill every year. Everything about it highlights the gaping chasm in our society, between those who have everything they could ever need and those who don’t even have somewhere warm to sleep. It can bring out the worst in people - the most selfish, the most privileged, the most entitled. And you hate hearing Mariah Carey blasting through the tinny St. Luke’s speakers in October. Trust me, I get it.
The thing is, it’s so easy to be cynical. It’s so easy to harumph and groan about the crowds on Franklin Road and the queues out the door of every store. It’s so easy to detest the corny music and the tacky decorations and the sheer earnestness of the festive spirit.
But do you remember how Christmas made you feel as a child? Remember the magic of the twinkling lights? Of leaving carrots out for the reindeer and a fresh Heineken out for Santa? Remember believing in something so firmly, something that was good and hopeful and made all feel right in the world? I barely do.
As a toddler, my sister once wet her pants in the middle of the living room on Christmas morning, so overwhelmed by the sheer excitement of the day that her little body could no longer contain it. When was the last time that you were so happy that you literally pissed yourself?
I can’t remember ever feeling like that in my adult life. But I want to. I want to recapture that magic. That pure, unashamed, earnest joyfulness.
So, this year, I’m going to do everything I can to make myself feel the magic of Christmas, just like I did as a child. I’m going to be listening to She & Him all through December. I’m going to watch all my favourite Christmas movies (if you haven’t seen Arthur Christmas, do watch it this season). I’m going to leave out biscuits for Santa. I’m going to paint my nails red and green and eat as many brandy snaps as I can fit down my gob and start incorporating tinsel into my everyday style. Because, god damn it, I want to feel so intensely happy that I literally wet my pants.
It does feel a lot scarier than cynicism, a lot more vulnerable, to really try to feel joy. But I think it’s worthwhile, especially after the year we’ve all had. I think that all of us, at least the ones that celebrate this weird and silly holiday every year, should at least try our best to recapture that old feeling.
Christmas doesn’t have to be what it always has been, either. It doesn’t have to be about buying presents and creating waste. You could donate food to the Auckland City Mission, or toys to similar charities that will be donated to families in need. You could go waste-free with your gifts and wrapping paper (we collect scarves from op-shops for our wrapping paper, but there’s a million different ways you could do it). You could skip gift giving altogether and just share food and time with your friends and family. Be grateful that we can, while so many people in other countries won’t be able to.
This Christmas, allow yourself some pure, unadulterated, childhood-level magical joy. Smell the Christmas trees and sing along to the worst Christmas songs and watch The Holiday. Be kind. Be generous. Be grateful. And try to remember a time in your life where you pissed yourself with excitement. After the year we’ve had, we deserve it.Support Villainesse