The Bittersweet Taste of Humbug

3 Dec 07


I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas. Or rather, I have a nostalgic-yearning/can’t-be-bothered-with-it-all-&-what-does-it-mean-anyway? relationship with Christmas.

Regarding the nostalgic-yearning… I watched the film Elf yesterday… that being, for those who are unaware of it, the one with Will Ferrell, who plays a human orphan who was raised by elves – specifically those who make toys in Santa’s Workshop. It’s a little bit of light-hearted festive nonsense, which I have to admit raised a few laughs, and, as is the nature of such films, covers such enduring themes as finding-one’s-place-in-the-world, the-value-of-childhood-innocence-and-playfulness and the-importance-of-family-above-all-else. It was the second theme which got the strings of the ukulele of my own blood-pumping organ all a-twanging… you know, the one about childhood innocence + playfulness + suchlike.

I miss childhood. Yes, blah-blah-blah, don’t we all, and all that… but just lately I’ve had moments of really strong yearning for my formative years. I don’t want to come across all rose-tinted here – I mean obviously there are parts of my pre-adult years I am glad to leave behind – but I have, of late, been missing that ability to utterly and completely believe in something. Such as Christmas. I am aware that not everyone has memories of Perfect Family Yuletides, and in retrospect I suppose mine weren’t utterly perfect, but there’s no doubt about it, for that week or two of the year, there was an undeniable magic in the air. I mean a real, thick, beautiful sense of the goodness in the world. I don’t think I have totally, irretrievably lost that, but nowadays – as a man in my mid-thirties, with all the responsibilities and worries and so on that entails – the world just seems so… real. I believe in stuff – in mysteries beyond what we know (or think we know), in forces beyond our comprehension, in the grand unknowable wonder of the universe – but it’s just not the same as when a child believes in stuff… you know? I’d like to get back that ability to utterly and completely believe in something. But – as a man in my mid-thirties, with all the responsibilities and worries and so on that entails – is that even possible? Is it something I should hope for? Answers on a postcard please! (or rather, in the Comments box below)

Regarding the can’t-be-bothered-with-it-all-&-what-does-it-mean-anyway… actually, you know what? I don’t think I can be bothered going into that right now… Could we perhaps focus on the nostalgic-yearning for the present? (no pun intended)



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