They're Scheming for a Black Christmas

The more I think about it the more it seems that they've not only drained Christmas of all the festive spirit, they've even drained it of all the financial possibilities. Have you watched the TV adverts recently? Well let’s be honest, they started the Christmas adverts when school started in September right on the heels of "Back to School". Never mind the holiday adverts that start on New Year’s Day, I think the Christmas adverts really are the worst. They pick their targets carefully and aim straight at the imagination of the younger set, thereby catching the weakest members of our society, their parents. This seasonal blackmail is becoming all too

common now. Turn on any channel that carries advertisements before 5 p.m. and you will be assailed by dynamic plastic figures cavorting in a life and death struggle in a child's sandpit. Super-wheeled vehicles that not only look like the real thing but even seem to have real people driving them, "Vroom", "Vroom". Sorry about that, I was just employing some of the words you'll have to teach your child should they desire some of these toys as, I am aware, some don't have the sounds attached. Have you noticed how they 'sell' the imaginative scenario rather than the product? When little Johnny gets the 'Mega-what's-it' with the seat (extra figures are optional), do they also give him the imaginative scene he saw on the television or does he have to make do with the living-room floor? Is little Johnny aware that the 4x4 vehicle he saw screaming down the dusty track with flags and fences doesn't look the same bashing into half-bricks on the garden path? Does the little doll that sparkled on the television amongst her party friends in the little doll’s house look the same sitting solitary on the sideboard?

Maybe they should control these adverts a little more. Maybe we should object to the times they are on, as it’s not the kids that buy the toys or have to pick up the pieces on Boxing Day. In some countries it is prohibited to show children’s' toy adverts until after the kiddies are in bed. Maybe we should think about this, as we are the ones that have to foot the bill. I have some friends that are seriously thinking of banning TV for the children until AFTER the 9 o'clock watershed. That way they'll only become corrupted by the violence and sex. That way mum and dad can afford to live the next year without having to go into debt for the latest craze in dolls, computer games or cars.

On the other hand mum and dad have a lot to suffer too. All those wonderful parties that are going on when you see the TV adverts. All that wonderful fun being had by all. Listen mum and dad, if you believe that you're being 'had by all'. No, the rest of the world isn't 'bouncing' about having wonderful parties and buying columns of prezzys 15 feet high. If you haven't bought your prezzys yet don't worry. There'll be plenty of time in the January sales and Auntie may get a better bargain with the cash then, so just give her the money. Better still, buy her a lottery ticket with a card that says "It's the thought that counts".


Humbug! They tell you the Earth is dying and you can help by buying a recycled card. Last year I went one better; to save the Earth's natural resources I simply listed all my friends at work on one card and sent it off with the comment "save a tree". Most people saw the joke and the card did the rounds. We all felt we'd wished each other a "Merry Christmas" and we saved a lot of trees (and money). Another friend of mine will be sending me the same card this year. That card has been bouncing between us for the last eight years. We simply cross out the last sender and add the next with some comment like "Another tree saved" added to the bottom. So if you really want to help this Christmas get out last year’s cards and start rubbing out!

"Ho! Ho! Ho!"

What really chokes me at Christmas is the great divide it seems to create between the haves and have-nots. Once, only once, I was asked to play Santa at a school where the Santa had not turned up. I think his reindeer must've had a flat or something. Anyway I went into the job with a jolly heart and came out feeling so cynical only several strong drinks would do anything for my condition. That night as Santa was the most depressing night I've ever "Ho Ho'd" through. It wasn't the fairy lights or the silly gnomes that didn't look quite right. It was the things the kids said. A typical interview would involve:- "Ho Ho Ho and what is Santa bringing you for Christmas?" At this point we had the 'Haves' who would list the computer, the colour TV for their bedroom and several assorted items that would only fit in a 12 cwt. van. The next child would probably be looking forward to a new scarf and coat to match! Try giving both of those children a stick of rock and a "Merry Christmas" with the same feeling. In the end I simply said "Merry Christmas" and shoved a stick of rock in their hands; it seemed a safer way to work. If there is a Santa I'm sure he's probably sitting in a down-town squat swigging from a brown paper bag saying "Bloody Christmas" after every swig.

Black Plastic Bags

One year my wife asked me what we should get our children for Christmas. I suggested a black plastic bag full of broken lego, battery case covers, strange springs, assorted toy parts and lots of small rubber wheels. I made this suggestion after a fruitless search for a wheel in one bedroom, which seemed to abound in these things. It seemed to me that they must've been striving to attain this goal since Christmas day as I couldn't find any of the original items that they had lovingly treasured on Christmas day just an assortment of headless men and lego bricks covered in plasticine. Check any child's bedroom and you will find similar assortments scattered somewhere under the bed or at the back of a cupboard. They seem to want these things so why don't they sell these items in the shops? While on the subject, why don't they sell the 'Christmas Kit'? I know every one wants one and the demand would be enormous. The "Christmas Kit" I imagine contains 24 pencil batteries, several assorted battery covers, two tubes of glue, a screw-driver, a range of small tyres, a packet of Aspirin and ear plugs. The luxury version will probably include tickets for a get-away-weekend for two.

In the end I suppose you can't avoid Christmas. I once had the privilege of crossing the Date-Line the 'wrong-way' on that illustrious day and went to sleep on the 24th only to awake on the 26th. Most of the crew on that ship felt 'cheated' I wonder how many mums would feel the same?