The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

’Tis the season…

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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.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

26 comments

Carole said...

Well you certainly look jolly. And that twinkle in your eye? Makes me want to rush right out and buy you a present. Ho Ho Ho.

Mary Witzl said...

Yay! I'm the first one to comment!

It is possible to enjoy the spirit of Christmas and scorn all the Christmas hype. Every year, I find myself yet more repulsed by it all. What ought to be the celebration of selfless generosity has become little more than a thoroughly despicable greedfest. We take great pleasure in refusing to play along, for the most part. Our poor deprived kids have gotten used to hanging their heads in shame in front of their classmates: no computers, no cars, no expensive sound systems, etc.

But we're still hoping to see you at the party! And that's a great photo.

angie said...

there is something disturbing about seeing christmas decorations BEFORE thanksgiving . . . there's supposed to be an order: halloween, thanksgiving and THEN christmas! geez!

Fat Lazy Guy said...

Hahaha! Classic photo. It's like you're thinking "Get this bloody thing off me." :D

We don't go all out for Christmas like we used to. It just seems like a whole lot of... stuff for a whole lot of nothing.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

You look like a pirate of the Caribbean undergoing some sort of crisis of jolly.

How's Maggie's show going?

TheAmpuT said...

Dude, you look like The Grinch.
I mean really...compare: http://texasholdemblogger.files.wordpress.com/2006/12/grinch.jpg

(sorry I dont know how to put a link in correctly)

Kate said...

Like the hat!

You are right about the advertising starting far too early. As I was putting my boots on to go out on my birthday (Bonfire night) a Christmas advert appeared on the tv. On November 5th - that is so very wrong.

Oh, and thank you for reminding me about decorations - ours go up on the 14th, but I need to buy a tree. The cat, who was a kitten last Christmas, decided to scale ours and it snapped.

michael greenwell said...

humbug

PI said...

Hi Grumps! It takes one to know one.
My best Christmases were working as a student nurse when we had no off duty on Christmas Day and everything was for the children. It was so wonderful. When I had my own family it all felt so selfish and commercial but I also have chilled over the years and am now prepared to go with the flow and enjoy being with family and remember what its all about.

Carole said...

You might want to give this a whirl if you need a bit of spirit. And I don't know how to link in the comment section so I guess you just have to copy and paste. http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1278844798

avocadoinparadise said...

Hey Kim! You'd love the new trend here toward requiring that people dressing up like Santa be thin! http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071207/lf_nm_life/santa_diet_dc

=)

avocadoinparadise said...

Sidenote...It's pretty impresive that you got 3 outside links in one comment chain! Everyone must think you want to do some outside reading! Wowsers. :-)

Conan Drumm said...

And a bah jolly humbug to you too!

Kim Ayres said...

Carole - Ho ho ho :)

Mary - you crossed over Carole and she just beat you to it. Thanks for coffee yesterday and we are planning on coming to the party :)

Angie - we don't get Thanksgiving here, but then we don't get Black Friday either

FLG - I took several with different expressions and in the end the one I found most amusing was the contrast between the serious face and the sily hat

Sam - Ho ho ho; Yo ho ho; arrr...

The exhibition wasn't as well attneded as we'd hoped, but it we still gained from it. We packed it up this morning.

TheAmpuT - hmmmm...

Kate - the hat is in fact Meg's and she looks considerably cuter in it

Michael - bah...

Pat - I am much more chilled about the whole thing these days. Life's too short to be grumpy all the time.

Carole - your husband has quite the hour-glass figure and I'm very impressed with your dancing

Avacado - I'd be seriously worried about thin Santas - the idea that you could heat half a billion mince pies in a single night and not put on a pound would have to be sending out the wrong message.

Conan Drum - ho ho ho

savannah said...

the best thing about this time of the year is time off...some of our children are coming home...otherwise, i'm more of a bah humbug kinda gal, sugar!

Brave Astronaut said...

Just returned from the bank and all the staff were wearing similar hats (theirs blinked!). They looked as pleased as you.

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday and with my son's birthday being the same day and our second arriving just five days later, and mine five days before Christmas, how can one not love December.

But it would be nice to keep the timetable from growing out of control. You should definitely grow out the beard and start working as Santa. That should help. Or not . . .

Kim Ayres said...

Savannah - it's always good to see the family (well in our family anyway...)

Brave Astronaut - It used to be longer but it was never white enough. Maybe I'll grow a full white Santa one in about 20 years

Restaurant Gal said...

Jolly is spending all day at the beach this past Sunday, lounging away in 85 degree sunshine. I could care less that it doesn't feel at all like Christmas. It feels like eternal summer! Yes, I admit to being a complete brat about my wonderful climate. Bear with me, it's my first winter amidst the palm trees and all. By the way, red suits you.

Eryl Shields said...

My sister-in-law and me apply the word 'jolly' to attractive men, or used to when men attracted.

As for Christmas, I had an epiphany last year and all my cynicism melted away. I haven't noticed any of the commercial stuff this year.

Did you see the illuminated houses in the Guardian today? Crazy.

Binty McShae said...

Bah firkin humbug, an' all that...

Kim Ayres said...

Retaurant Gal - I harbour a desire to one day spend Christmas on a warm sunny beach, but until the kids all leave home I don't hold out much hope.

Eryl - I'm definitely much more relaxed about the whole thing these days

Binty - Ho ho ho...

jotcr2 said...

I can't wait for Christmas. We're having a BBQ at the beach this year. Sheena is getting a waddling pool, so cross fingers for good weather.

Attila The Mom said...

Now that is NOT a jolly face! LOL

Kim Ayres said...

Jo - it's about 2 degrees here. Oh how I yearn for a BBQ on the beach...

Attila - I was smiling, but it's that passport-photo effect where you always look like a criminal no matter what expression you have

Deb said...

I love this picture, you have such a strong nose. That sounds odd, but it reminds me of my husbands nose and it just gives your face such strength. Makes you quite the looker!

Kim Ayres said...

Thank you Deb - I'm a sucker for compliments. However, my nose is a lot smaller in real life - I think it's something to do with the angle I'm at in this photo

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