Sunday, 23 December 2012

The Anti-Scrooge

On the office Christmas lunch, a small joke was had at my expense. It stemmed from the fact that I chose to not decorate my desk at work. I don’t like tinsel around my monitor and baubles on the partition because it is a hassle and it gets in the way. I'm in work to work, not mess about decorating. Because of this stance, I was given a black Santa hat that read “100% Christmas Grump” on one side and “Bah humbug!” on the other side. Fair enough, I can take a joke. I posed wearing the hat and congratulated my friend on his ingenuity. But that isn't why I posed with the hat.

What would have happened if I hadn’t put the hat on for other people’s photo opportunity? By the way, I hate wearing hats. They don’t suit me. If I had declined, even politely, the other twenty people in the room would have joined together as a Christmas mob and started chanting for me to put it on. I would have been labelled a Christmas Scrooge for not going along with everyone else’s fun, despite it being my dignity that was being sacrificed, not theirs. Basically, I had been cornered into doing something Christmassy that I didn’t want to do. Now, I wasn’t coercing or bullying others to follow my under stated attitude towards Christmas. Hell, I was at the Christmas dinner! It’s not like I am anti-Christmas. However, I and some others seem to be on the end of a surreptitious intimidation, that is wrapped is supposed festive cheer, making the mob-like pressure completely acceptable. It is the anti-Scrooge.

You see, an anti-Scrooge labels you everything negative for not engaging in Christmas time in a way they see fit. Some people don’t want to buy into the schmaltzy silliness that the season brings. To some, myself included, Christmas is about spending time with people who matter, showing them that I care by offering them a well thought out present, and Christmas carols that give you that warm feeling when the winter wind howls outside your window. It isn’t found in silly hats found in Christmas crackers, ostentatious decorations or tiresome cliché pop songs. It is found in family and friendship, not false frivolity that is based on nothing but a date on a calendar.

Ironically, it goes against the real spirit of Christmas to make someone do something they don’t want to. If someone is seeking to make everyone miserable, then fair enough, that is uncalled for. But if they wish to do things differently, at what point does the Christian notion teach that you should force people to fall in line? Anyone who has read the Nativity knows that Christmas is about someone who was born into an oppressive regime to rise up and teach peace, love and respect to all mankind. Whether you’re religious or not, that’s a pretty good message, even to Richard Dawkins!

So the next time you want to force someone into doing something at Christmas and be an anti-Scrooge because you think that person is defying the true Christmas spirit, contemplate this. By doing that, you miss the true spirit of Christmas too, the spirit of peace on Earth, goodwill to men.