Stephen Fahey: Christmas wish

So, you’ve armed yourself and gone to the jungle. You’ve found a tree, a well fed tree. You’ve made sure it hasn’t young that are still suckling, because that’d be unsportsmanlike. Then you’ve murdered it and dragged its corpse home and propped it up in the corner of your sitting room and decorated it with shinny things and sparkly things and homemade things from your childhood that you just can’t throw away but hide at the back of the tree because God are they ugly. And thus it is officially Christmas. That fat home invader’s license is valid for one more season, and if the kids don’t get you with their incessant gibberish, the biscuits and booze will — not to mention living up to the social pressure of hammering the living b’jesus out of your finances in the name of commercialism. And if you aren’t parents, well, there are so many parties to attend, so many hangovers to endure, so many legends to breed, and so many shots, pints, bottles, cocktails, mugs of whiskey, flutes of bubbly, bowls of vodka and buckets of beer to guzzle, shoot, sips, knock back, slam, quaff, drain, slug, swill, mull over and cry into that your poor old liver, well, that son bitch ain’t got a hope in hell. But that’s what it says in the bible so that’s what you do. Because Christmas.

Meanwhile in the kitchen, the cupboards are packed so tight that the homeless crisis is the last thing on your mind. The very thought of finding a less fortunate and taking them into your home and feeding them and giving them manger to sleep in while the winter nights temperatures plummet outside hasn’t even crossed your mind. If the freezer sees one more turkey, ham, bag of sprouts or tub of ice cream or the larder sees one more cake, mince pie, box of chocolates, bag of sugar or tin of shortbreads then there’s a legitimate threat of a rip in the space-time continuum. But that’s what the bible says so we obey, or else we’ll all go to hell like some sort of free-thinking infidels. Because Christmas.

So it’s nearly the big night. The rituals and traditions have been performed and the house has been stocked with sinful amounts of food and drink. Your Christmas cards are posted, your gifts are wrapped, the virgins have been sacrificed, your conscience is clear and you’re sure you haven’t forgotten anyone. The countdown has begun. The advent calendar is half empty and the sound of Christmas music is already driving you more than a little insane. But there’s plenty of booze to drown the guilt out each evening as you send the kids to bed early on a wish and a prayer and a threat of poor behaviour causing the aforementioned fat man to single out naughty individuals from the global mass of youths and do the unthinkable. The fear that you’ll drop dead of a heart attack or embolism from all the excitement and miss out on the big day hasn’t even dawned on you as you stuff another sugary treat into your gullet, and you just slosh along, unaware of how lucky you are to have a roof over your head, loved ones to spend time with, food on your table, annoying music to annoy you, drink to drink, gifts to give and receive and the bejeweled corpse of a tree that had been roaming free until you killed it for you own temporary pleasure standing in your nice warm home.

But all indictments and denunciations and blame aside, here’s to a Merry Christmas. May you burst with food and weep longingly into your wine with gluttonous pleasure. May the dog not pee on your tree. May Santa be kind and punctual. May the kids not get you up too early. May there be cake and pudding and cream and custard and music and beer and wine and dead animals roasted and cut up on your plate, and gravy and family and friends and hot running water and a bed to sleep in and Christmas movies and love and happiness and joy in your life this holiday season. May you not be bitter and angry at the corporate machine that took a perfectly good pagan holiday and used it to destroy the old ways in the name of global domination. May you not be sleeping on the barn with the animals. May your days me bright and merry and may all your Christmases be heckin’ awesome!

Stephen Fahey

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