A wee bit accusatory, the cleaning woman’s sly question: “You don’t hang a star or put up a tree?!” I wanted to be blunt and say it has become one big bore. But instead I shrugged and let the question pass.
It is not just Christmas but all festivals have become aggressively predatory. The festival is packaged to entice and lure the unsuspecting stupid believer and then it closes in to make the monetary killing.
Once upon a time Christmas was simple. Life was not easy but the real fun was there and that was long before the ersatz fun became packaged ware. Planning began months before. The pinecones were collected from hill stations then painted silver, gold or left plain and painstakingly wired into the wreaths. Bright red suede with green leaves and dry flowers tucked into it became table runners and pretty candles entwined in tinsel became centre -pieces. We even borrowed Christmas decs when we had a dinner and that was about wowing and sharing and wowing again!
Every year an exhibition in Kochi announced handmade Christmas decorations that had a welter of glass bells, glass Santas, stuffed Santas, Christmas wreaths, colourful stockings, all crafted carefully. It took the talented ladies from Alleppey over four to five months to collect and make the stuff for that Christmas sale. And we flocked to see what new ideas they brought each year and their precious stock would sell out within half a day. But somewhere along they stopped when cheaper stuff became available. The sameness and niceness of cheap decorations are so convenient! It is hard to describe the instant joy that it brings to the world!
But What if I don’t put up that Made in China tree? What if I don’t hang up those Made In China trinkets? It seems like an affront that I can even think these Scrooge thoughts when Christmas is about spending and spending to spread the cheer around. And if you don’t the guilt will weigh you down. And Christianity rides on the guilt factor. And that guilt is cleverly factored in to the sales pitch and has even infiltrated the general bon homie. The compulsiveness of sending messages, giving gifts and throwing Christmas dinners makes Christmas an expensive drag.
Are we missing the Big Picture? There must have been a pertinent reason to add that Cow Shed and the natural stars to The Nativity. How I miss the simplicity of that scene.
(No problem. You want that effect? Sure, we will get it for you. Made in China of course.)