top of page
  • Writer's pictureLaura

Why we weren't feeling it this year: Christmas said it all...

I write this in a rabid mood on a rabid day in post-Christmas haze. A storm rages outside. The ‘ate too much’ discourse permeates social media platforms, and every man and his dog have now revealed that they are fitness enthusiasts. In true form for our new fast-forward society, all traces of Christmas are now being removed from our lives and for many people, that real Christmas feeling never even happened.

An image taken from within a car showing water splashing against the window.
The storm is here...

I’ve spoken with a few people online and offline over the last few days and the response I’m seeing when asking them ‘whether they had a nice one’ seems to be unanimous. That it was an ok, a mediocre affair, but the feeling of festive joy was absent. Then, why so?

Well, if you think I’m about to psychoanalyse and present some deeply intellectual account of society, it’s not going to happen. But what I do know is this. That this world we live in today is a wilderness of fuckery. It tells us when to be happy, when we should mourn, what we should eat and how much. We’re told that we work too little, or that we’ve worked too hard when it all breaks down and goes wrong. The horrors of this world persist at a macro scale and in the fine lines of our everyday lives that are then dismissed as first world problems. Our class lines are turning into divides of giants and we live in a world where irrespective of who lives and who dies, attention and being seen is everything.

I’m sorry to write such a gloom-ridden account of society, but really, can we pretend any longer? Maybe you can, and maybe if life is ticking along ok it’s easier to blinker out the ‘other things’, the less happy things. After all, there is beauty in life and what better than those moments when you truly feel relaxed. I mean the times when you took that long walk or read that book that left you thinking for days. Those things are real too. But Christmas wasn’t doing it for many of us this year. The lights were on but were any of us really home for it?

Christmas has always been a thing of tradition, and with it comes perhaps the brightest magnifier of the state of society. Because when someone hands us the script of joy, when we feel anything but and in some cases are in absolutely horrendous circumstances it’s like a boiling kettle that cannot hold its steam. This year, in 2023 it wasn’t just those of us in adversity who felt it. People were exhausted before it even began. When the day came, and another tired face passed a tired cracker over the table. Smiles that shone with sad eyes and another day of pretending. Just two days on and here we are already, business as usual has resumed and the everyday stresses that were in our lives before are still there. I’m sure I don’t need to be the cruel person who told everyone that Father Christmas isn’t real, but honestly, this year Christmas floated in early and blew out as soon as the storm arrived.

A black and white photo of a beach with storm clouds above.
Same time next year?

And as we all wonder what the coming year will bring, reflection on these recent days shows that as a society we are sinking further into a collective depression. Inequalities persist, poverty rising, a government that attempts to gaslight us into thinking all is well, a media that simply packs up and moves on to its next story, and a digital nation of citizens largely at war over whose voice is the loudest.

Santa brought a gift that woke us all up this year. We know that things need to change, but we sink into the belief that we have little power to do so. We read the stories, we watch the events unfold but then, once Christmas comes we attempt to sleep for a while. Until it stops working and then reality unfolds...

Basically, Christmas said it all.

bottom of page