Christmas cheer conceals chronic misery
Behind the cheer and merriment the festive season masks a damaged society
It’s the season to be jolly, so we are told. We are also told that Christmas is a time for love, remembrance and the exchange of presents. Long missed relatives gather to eat, drink and be merry. It is not the receiving of gifts but the giving that counts, Christmas is one time of the year when the stresses and strains of modern life are forgotten and a sense of good old fashioned family life takes over. Dad isn’t working late, Mum isn’t trying to juggle a career and two kids, the children aren’t hiding away in their bedrooms on the latest gadgets, the Christmas tree looks beautiful and all is well, at least in the TV adverts.
Christmas provides the ideal opportunity for everyone looking to forget the failings of their lives and the ills of the society in which they live. But is this a true reflection of modern society?
The reality is nothing like the glossed over TV adverts, by the time Christmas day arrives Mum and Dad would have spent countless hours trekking through the snow and cold to find the “must have” gift of the year. The children will be all psyched up for the perpetual disappointment the gifts they receive bring, the Credit cards will have been used to their limit (even in this time of economic decline), and the thought of having relatives around for dinner will have them all wishing they were somewhere else.
Then there are the countless people who will have no real family to spend Christmas with, the homeless, the ones from broken homes and the ones whose years of self indulgence has shut all doors – all victims of a modern society.
For all these reasons Christmas is also the time when domestic violence, calls to the Samaritans Helplines and suicide attempts rise. Women, children and the most vulnerable are typically on the receiving end of the abuse, violence and crimes in this festive period.
The scale of these offenses is so huge that it can’t be deflected away on individual indiscretions.
These are victims of society, capitalist society! Capitalism fails to build cohesive societies where family, community and collective spirit are given real importance. Individualism; where the most important person in most peoples lives is themselves, lies at the root of this chronic malaise. For every individual good endeavor at Christmas the victims of Capitalism suffer more during the festive period. If you are alone, homeless or just poor Christmas is the worst time of year.
The festive period highlights the inequality of the world, whilst many in the Western world will spend weeks obsessing over gifts and the Christmas dinner, most of humanity will be more worried about simply surviving into the new year. For all the tantrums a child in the Western world will throw having not got what it wanted on Christmas day there will be many children in the world who would give anything for any type of gift. For all the wasted food and drink there will be those who have never known a “proper” meal.
The harsh reality is that we are living in an increasingly capitalist world, where the culture of individualism has created a harsh society, devastating peoples lives on an industrial scale most apparent at Christmas, yet least visible.