I’ve yet to meet a single significantly overweight man I would ever use the word “jolly” to describe. And yet, because the man with the bright red suit and shiny nosed animal companion appears on all saleable goods at this time of year, the myth of the jolly fat man continues.
Certainly I would never have described myself as “jolly” when I was 120lbs overweight.
Come to think of it, I’ve yet to meet anyone for whom I would use the word “jolly” to describe.
Come to think of it further, I can’t remember the last time I even said the word “jolly” out loud, at least since my mother stopped buying tins of Green Giant sweetcorn in the 70s.
Still, jolliness aside, I’ve had to fight hard to bring myself back to a stage where I can relax and enjoy these annual festivities without overwhelming feelings of cynicism. Neither being Christian, nor being impressed with an excessively consumerist society, there have been times when we have almost abandoned Christmas altogether (see The Spirit of Christmas).
Some supermarkets have had their “seasonal” goods on the shelf since September, which I can’t help but feel was a little unseasonal – especially as many of the products had a sell by date that expired before the day they were intended to be opened and consumed.
Many other shops held off at least until Halloween had passed before the tinsel and snowmen began to adorn every price-saver label.
By mid-November, the lights were starting to go up across the streets in every town in the UK, and the adverts on TV containing celebrities covered in artificial snow had begun in earnest.
And a worrying development in recent years is the number of penguins wearing Santa hats that are appearing in shopping mall displays. I tried pointing out to my son the other day that tropical Birds of Paradise are in fact half a world closer to the North Pole than penguins, but he just rolled his eyes in that way early pubescent children seem to develop every time a parent opens his or her mouth.
But while it’s easy to despair at the gullibility of a manipulated buying public, the truth is I’m much more chilled out about it these days, and take the time to really enjoy Rogan and Meg’s excitement. With just over a fortnight to go it’s now our turn to finally start indulging and the kids have been decorating the tree today.
Meanwhile I try not to think about the house round the corner that’s had large flashing lights on the roof counting down the 99 days ‘til Christmas.
...Falalala la, lala la la.