Thursday, 17 November 2011

All I want for Christmas ... is the pre - Christmas decadence

Since some people (really closed ones) got really annoyed with all my politically inspired posts in which I was uncovering my leftist inclinations, which I could not later neither explain nor defend, this time I decided to write about something that I find utterly pleasurable and that exposes, embarrassingly, my sheer and loving attachment to, what can be actually called the (evil) commercialization of Christmas. I like to call it ‘le Chirstmas decadance’

I actually adore these couple of weeks before the Christmas. The closer it gets the more excited I am and the more I enjoy the glitzy, shimmery atmosphere in which spending money is a quintessential part of the game and there are good weeks of December when I feel I never get rid this slightly drunken feel to everything I do. So here is the short lists of the most cheesy things I really love about this time, which, I realize, will undermine the last bits of my intellectual credentials.

Corporate Christmas Parties: the best ones are definitely the ones in which you need to dress up and act like you hated it. There is actually nothing better than spending half a week at work discussing the outfits and complaining about the need of having to do so. If you are in England, you might be sure, that no matter how ashamed you might feel about your dress - someone, will surely beat you. Few things compare to seeing your boss in a deer outfit. Or your other acting boss completely drunk. Truly Bridget Jones moment.

The ‘festive’ looks of the everyday brands: it all started last week, when in the depth of the morning dawn when was crawling to the St Pancras to catch the train to catch my plane to Warsaw. And than it happened and I saw it and .. it was completely dressed up for Christmas with all the jingle bells in the background, paper cups with deers and red ribbons. And this is when this weird moment of pleasure came. Coffee never tasted to good in Starbucks.

The Christmas shop windows & festive looks of the public spaces: There is nothing better than being in the proper city in the pre - Christmas time. I was always thinking that New York must be nice at that time, but actually London can do easily. Suddenly all the streets you normally might hate become magical ... The only time I enjoy Oxford & Regent Street, where I can watch people doing their ‘Christmas shopping’ (that replaced Christmas as family event long time ago), or appreciate the the Christmas tales told in hundreds of shop’s windows. I especially recommend a walk around City of London and Canary Warf in the early evening - maybe it’s just the beautiful decoration of banks or maybe it’s the smell of bonuses in the air and the absent looks of bakers in their cashmere scarfs.

Ice Skating Rings, ideally in Canary Warf and Sommerset House: there is something totally magic in the fact that it’s cold, you feel it your nose is cold the air that comes out of your mouth and you are still outside, in the public space, enjoying your time with others. And you can’t stop smiling. Never as appealing in January as in December. Lights in the Darkness. As much as it is completely annoying that its dark when you come to work its also dark when you get out of it, I really like stepping out of the office, when it’s dark and to see the candles in the bar on the corner ... drinking Christmas time has amazingly seductive intimate feel.

Christmas commuter drama tales. When you live in London and happen to be from somewhere else, there is a huge chance that you will get stranded in London, because of ‘wrong type of snow’ or ‘snow on the runaway’ or because of ‘we apologize for inconvenience but your service has been cancelled today’. With one inch of snow this city gets completely paralyzed and no - one can go anywhere. That’s where best part begin - translated into million of fascinating personal stories, little dramas of poor people stranded at the airports, train stations or bars. This is where the great friendships start. This is also when Guardian’s Snow Report Blog kicks off - the funniest thing you can read about Christmas.

I could continue the list (including Christmas movies and ads) but I will stop now this embarrassing procedure and try to say what’s wrong with me? I am just completely perplexed with the fact how deeply attracted I am to something that is commercially constructed and has nothing to do with any sort of christian tradition of Christmas.

I really can find only two reasons.

One has to do with liminality - it’s time of waiting, time of in - between. And it’’s quite ironic that it’s waiting for something that we long time forgot about. Nor do we care. But it’s the coldest and gloomiest time of year that we culturally managed to turn into a glamourous time. So it’s not longer about the goal, but the journey, which gives the emotional high. Cause there there might be something ‘out there’ that is waiting for us. The worry is that we build into it so much expectations, that where the ‘real’ thing of Christmas come it can - it can only be a disappointment.

The other reason has to do with the ‘out-of- time’ time quality. It’s the time that exposes our nostalgia for better, different life - more cozy, more together, more joyful. The time that is taken out of context, the time that is taken in converted commas, where you do not treat yourself so seriously. It’s like a fairy tale time, where slightly different rules apply. And we like it this way. January is so depressing.

Finally and this is a third reason.

There is always good to have a reason to have a drink with friends. One of the few things you can’t have on facebook.

Photo By: Library of Congress

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