Aaargh, Christmas!

18 Dec

Previously unpublished post – 15th November 2010

I love Christmas, I really do. On about the tenth of December something just goes PING! inside me, and from that moment on, I have an unquashable urge to wear Santa hats, eat mince pies and wander around town with mittens and candles, singing carols.

But it’s November right now. Moustaches are still in (‘Movember’ is possibly one of the most awesome charity initiatives ever, right?), it’s cold, but not December cold* and Christmas songs are playing on the radio.

Can you see the anomaly here?

Christmas is more than a month away. But for some reason, tinsel and snowflakes festoon shop windows, Cliff Richard is blasted forcefully and vindictively over the airwaves by evil local radio DJs and the Coke advert came out a couple of days ago.

Which Coke advert? This one.

Or this one.

I think, by a tiny margin, I prefer the second one. But I find both annoying. I’m not at all bah-hummbuggish usually, but these adverts I find not only cringeworthily cheesy but exploitative and unjustifiably symbolic. 

The reason? These adverts, and the tradition of Coca Cola advertisements at Christmas make the very idea of the Christmas season and Coca Cola products intrinsically linked.

One thing that I’ve only noticed this year, for some reason seeing as it’s practically universal, apparently:  almost everyone says that they first feel christmassy when they first see the festive Coke ad. Why? No-one really gets it, to be honest. I think the foremost reason is that it’s on first. No other company has the audacity to air its festive-season ads in mid-November, and the early bird, as they say, gets the mind-slaves, who see this First Commercial as homage to the nostalgia and sanctity of Christmas, not the hymn to  commercialism that it actually is. But then again, in the twenty-first century, Christmas is more about presents and Santa and parties and turkey than it is about Jesus. (For the reord, I’m not what you’d call  devout, but some vestiges of my Christian upringing remain. And I’m a great believer in the Trade Descriptions Act. Anything with ‘Christ-‘ in it should have Christ in it. Just saying.)  

Not only does this one, particular ad induce brand zombification of the weak-willed (Well. Everyone really, except for the Pepsi Slaves) but also ensures that  all the Christmas decorations go up everywhere as soon as the eagerly awaited festive Coke commercial debuts. For a month and a half we are force-fed Bing Crosby songs, Jolly Santa window displays and, most-literally, a high-fat/salt/sugar/sprout  diet of pastry, sugar coated nuts, raisins soaked in alcohol and bizarre festive foods aplenty. Not to mention carbonated drinks of the competitive, manipulative, sugar saturated variety.***    

All of this a couple of weeks before Christmas is fantastic. It feels like a treat: indulgent, unusual, a bit nostalgic– but there can be too much of a good thing. If we’re dining on turkey and cranberries and mushed-up bread ‘sauce’**** and strangely stinky tiny cabbages and Christmas pudding a month-and-a-half before the big day, it’s going to turn out as one huge-massive anticlimax, tempered only slightly by the array of presents under the Christmas tree that were bought so long ago that no-one can remember what they got for whom. Christmas is supposed to be special, but when it’s over-commercialised and stretched out thinner than filo pastry, it’s… well, it’s just not.  Not any more.


*Not really true for this year as we’re buried under white powdery drifts– or at least, we like to think we are…

**Oh God, Cliff Richard. Why is he popular? Why was he ever popular? Why does that one most hateful song of his always gets trotted out at Christmas? I will never even have a hope of understanding this.

***Wow, that was some unusually rampant Omigod-All-Food-Can-And-Will-Kill-You self-help book thumping. I’m scaring myself here.

****Another thing I have no hope of ever understanding.

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