I generally attempt to write humorous posts and rarely stretch to something more serious. I never really combine the two. Well here goes, it’s Christmas after all and that seems to be the standard excuse doesn’t it?
Eating and drinking way too much – It’s Christmas!
Spending too much – It’s Christmas!
Wearing a ridiculous jumper – It’s Christmas!
So here’s a few things that get me grumpy about this festive season.
1) Now call me a traditionalist but I always thought there were 12 days of Christmas. Not according to retailers! There are hints of it jotted about in supermarkets during October but it’s not until the day after Bonfire night, November 6th, that they go full on. It’s too soon. I don’t like to think about Christmas until about a week before when I start to panic buy presents.
Speaking of which….
2) Secret Santa. Pick a name out of a hat at work. That is the name of the colleague you have to spend £10 on and you’d better spend that much because they’ll know if you’ve scrimped on your present. So now you have the inconvenience and pressure of buying a suitable gift, for someone you really don’t know, and hope that they will like it. You know that fake smile and false gratitude through gritted teeth that fail to mask an internal bitter disappointment. You know because you’ve pulled it yourself! You see it when your colleague doesn’t have a sense of humour as they unwrap a Cliff Richard calendar. What’s not to love about the geriatric prince of pop stripped to the waste in February? I thought it was right up Geoff’s street.
Also there’s every possibility that you’ll end up with something crap.
In fact there are only two reasons to enjoy Secret Santa. To buy something that will offend someone. Or to buy soap and deodorant for the smelly colleague. It’s a subtle hint without the need for a manager to engage in that uncomfortable chat.
3) Crackers. Just what is the point? I mean, I can appreciate a masterful piece of origami like the next man, but to pull it apart only to receive a paper crown, an unfunny joke and something that you will never use? “Ooh look, a very small, cheaply made bottle opener!” I’ve already got a bottle opener! I don’t need tiny scissors! In 60 years time, if I kept every piece of crap from crackers, I’d have drawers full of stuff I’d never used! A waste!
4) Cards! I mean, really? Here’s a piece of paper with a pretty picture on the front with the same message we wrote to you last year. Why can’t I just keep the first card that someone sent? It’s the same message! If they get divorced, I’ll tippex out one of their names. If they have a child, I’ll write it in.
I hate feeling obliged to write cards to someone with the same generic message every year. Just because if I don’t, I know they’ll take offence.
That is of course unless it’s a card to the lovely Mrs Grump. I have to write a message in there because together we have ventured through another year, side by side and no one else could understand what we have had to deal with and overcome. So it’s only right to acknowledge that personally to the most important person in my grumpy world.
And that leads onto the serious bit.
The past couple of weeks, we have witnessed some tragedies in the world. The school children in Pakistan; the siege in Australia followed by the young family who so brutally lost their lives; and just yesterday, in Glasgow, a horrific accident when a lorry mounted a pavement into a crowd of shoppers.
There were plans to enjoy Christmas not only for the victims but also their friends and families. There were presents bought by them, presents bought for them and expectations for laughter and joy over the forthcoming days. But for the friends and relatives of the casualties, the next few days will be the polar opposite of what you and I are hoping for.
So let’s step away from the commercialism, the materialistic routine and expectation that Christmas seems to have become. Let’s empathise and spare a thought for those who have endured tragic circumstances. There are families and friends currently shedding tears and grieving at a time when it is all about the coming together of loved ones. If you are religious, say a prayer for them.
I think it’s important of recognise this, use one of the many things that makes us human; the ability to feel compassion for our fellow man and from that empathy, perhaps we can allow it to trigger something else within us; an awakening perhaps, a shift in perspective, an appreciation for the friends and loved ones we do have nearby. It’s important to tell people how much they mean to you.
I can’t imagine what the families must be feeling, but my thoughts and condolences to them.
To everyone else, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas.
2015 is fast approaching. What Grumpiness shall I encounter?