Please, Please – Let it be Over
Well it is December so the focus of many is on Christmas and here in the small village of Ipplepen it isn’t any different.
In fact people are now focussed on both Christmases which if not yet completely merged are at the very least running in tandem to each other.
You may well ask what do I mean by two Christmases so I’ll attempt to explain.
The first Christmas is what I suppose is considered to be the orthodox conventional Christian Christmas that has now been turned into an overbearingly celebration of commercial opportunism into which the majority have bought.
The second Christmas is one which many – and some of the good folk in Ipplepen are no different – decry and object to the commercialism, some even going to the extreme of totally, or at least pretending to totally ignore that it is even going to happen.
Which all goes well of course until as the day draws ever closer the cynical, “I am not going to weaken” people who bombarded by the advertising and marketing machine find themselves filling with guilt and personal self-loathing to such an extent that sometimes as late as Christmas Eve their resolve not only cracks but falls apart completely.
Panic sets in and they rush to buy presents for their nearest – and bloody dearest – to offset the guilt.
The only thing left for them to do that makes any sense is to then try and spend the next two weeks in an alcohol induced catatonic state.
It will soon be time for the joy of the Christmas holidays and children breaking up from school with all of the expectations that Christmas brings with it.
Of all the holidays Christmas has been identified in multiple studies as being the most stressful.
Couples that manage – alł be it tenuously – to get along with each other for the rest of the year suddenly find that Christmas reveals any flaws there may be in their relationship.
Sadly even in Ipplepen there will be kids who will discover that their expectations of a joyful and rewarding – “will I get what I want expectation” – Christmas is going to be a huge let down.
“Where is my new IPhone 8/9/10, or television for my bedroom, or new bike”
And that’s only the families.
What about those nobody gives a thought to – not the elderly – but the single people who throughout the rest of the year spend their free time with friends out and about on the town.
Christmas is a time when they may well discover that for all the jollity going on around them they are in fact irredeemably alone and it is a feeling that is reinforced by finding themselves sitting to watch the barrage of repeat films on the television.
Is there any wonder the Samaritans are so busy at this time of year?
People try at this time of year to be a little better than they usually are for the rest of the year.
They will give to charities especially those that support the homeless of which incidentally there will be over 350,000 families homeless this Christmas and many more depending on food banks to simply put food on the table.
No season of goodwill or joy for those families and for many more they will try to find presents and gifts that show their love and come from the heart, things that money simply cannot buy.
Or of course it may be that they are simply tight arsed skinflints who refuse to part with any money arguing that to do so was doing nothing more than supporting the tardy commercialisation of Chritsmas.
But then it all changes for the cynical anti- Christmas people.
If they live in Ipplepen they will see the illuminated Christmas tree next to the cenotaph brightening up the whole of the centre of the village which will be replicated as homes are decorated with lights twinkling in the winter darkness.
They will hear the sound of the annual carol service as people gather around the tree.
Suddenly, especially if there is a heavy frost present or even snow Ipplepen will be miraculously transformed from a rural Devon Village into a Dickensian Christmas street scene with the smell of the wood burners wafting across the village.
The only thing absent will be the smell of roasting chestnuts.
Everywhere you go there will be mince pies and mulled wine to the extent that the very thought of just one more fills you with dread.
Suddenly at the sound of ‘Silent Night’ and ‘Away in the Manger ‘ hearts are transformed from abject cynicism into those filled with heart warming love and friendship.
Some even think of the Christian meaning behind Christmas.
The reality is that whether we like to admit it or not Christmas whether you love or hate it is embedded in our collective psyches including the bit that by the 26 December cries out,
“Please, Please, Let it be Over”