Monday, 27 December 2010

Returning, tail between legs.

I am a terrible human being, I know. I have left my blog to die while I have been out enjoying myself. Oh, the humanity! From now on, I must sort my life out and stop being ridiculous and start managing my time ten times better. To be fair, since winning the Endsleigh blog competition, I have fervently been writing all about my 'university experience' for them and therefore have found no time to handle two blogs. Excuses, excuses...

To get back into the swing of things, I thought I could cheat and post the blog I used as my most recent offering for Endsleigh. That's right, you are getting sloppy seconds. Apologies. But I feel it needs to be said - it's another one of my tirades against whatever has irritated me that week, on this occasion being Christmas. Bah, humbug. Here you are:

Seasons greetings! Hope everyone’s had a very merry Christmas and had a lovely few days of excessive eating/drinking/present opening/game playing/family arguing and the like.
It’s been the typically mad Green House this year, providing many a laugh and many a pig-in-blanket, with the usual 4 hour present unwrapping extravaganza (my father playing the quite sensationally over-exuberant Father Christmas while I helped him as a begrudging elf),  followed by the men of the family falling asleep as we watch the festive editions of Come Dine With Me/Doctor Who/The Royal Family. Standard.
This year however, I could not help but feel a pang of guilt as I revealed a brand new thermos/ pair of pyjamas/ electric blanket/ bottle of perfume. These are all things that I requested and felt I needed but on reflection, I’m seriously questioning this. I already have perfume, pyjamas, perfectly ample mugs and several duvets to keep me warm. As I watched my 11 person family (mother, father, brother, brother’s galpal, aunt, 2 uncles, 2 cousins, cousin’s boypal) open what must have been several thousand pounds worth of beautiful gifts, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was a touch obscene. I loved all of my gifts, deeply appreciating the thought that went into them and I will reap much satisfaction, enjoyment and comfort from each of them; equally, I loved finding gifts to suit each family member and watching their gratified faces upon opening them. But somewhere lingering in the back of my mind is this thought: We already have houses stuffed to the rafters of possessions. We are each surrounded by 10 people who love us. Any earthly possession that we require has been kindly provided for us. …Do we really need any more? Is it not enough to be united in a warm and comfortable house and eat a delicious, stomach-achingly huge lunch? It breaks my heart to think of those suffering during the festive season. Those who have been thrown from their homes, cradling themselves in foetal position to shield themselves from the snow. Those who have fled their houses from someone domestically abusing them, sparing no time to take luxuries or sentimental objects. Those on all corners of the earth who are starving and cannot keep themselves or their children alive because of the insufferable conditions put upon them by poverty and famine. It’s enough to put you off your mince pies. As I sat reflecting, thinking of what all this money could have done, I must have let my face drop for a moment or two. My mother’s response to my perceived glumness was to ask me if I was feeling blue because I hadn’t received as many presents as my other family members. Her concern was sweet but the meaning behind what she said left me even more disillusioned and troubled. Am I potentially somebody who could be ‘disappointed’ because I only received approximately £300 worth of gifts? Is that commonly regarded as something that warrants being ‘blue’?
Maybe, just maybe, for one single year, we should put all the money together that would have otherwise been spent on lavish gifts. Put the money into a big pot. Divide it several times over and dole out to some of the worthy causes in the world. And feel the full force of magic at Christmas. My family alone could probably generate a few grand. Now there’s an idea.
Hugely considering taking this stance for next year’s festive season: any money you would have spent on me, give to a charity of my choosing, and I will do likewise for you. Nothing is stopping me except my family’s inevitable reaction: they already find most of my views laughable and baffling (namely feminism), this may be a step too far in terms of their acceptance. Well, screw it, I’ve gone this far…


  1. Oh, Chloe. It's wonderful to see your work again.

    I can definitely relate. My family also find my views laughable, but you of all people possess the strength to push through and just be yourself. I come from two predominantly meat-eating cultures. When I 'came out' as a vegan, there were sniggers, but I think in some way my family has come to respect my decision.

    Since 'growing up', I've always tried to forego the gift culture we find ourselves fixated with. I believe it's humbled me somewhat, and made me appreciate the little things more, such as helping peel the vegetables for Christmas dinner. I feel much better for it, and I feel as if the holiday is now more wholesome.

    I'll stop now, before I start sounding like Bono. You've come up with a grand idea, Chloe. If your family don't like the sound of it, you can at least ask for money next year, and give that to charity. There's nothing they can do to stop you.

    I'm proud of you.

  2. Thanks Aris, I can always count on you for support! x