Early this morning – the 23rd of November – I figured it was close enough to the 25th of the month to qualify as a tolerable start to the celebration of the upcoming Christmas season. It is for me such a sentimental – though admittedly saccharine- time of the year that I rush to capture as much of its magic as possible because I know how precipitously the enthusiasm fizzles after December 25th.
These days it is popular to acknowledge that not everyone grew up celebrating Christmas – though most of us accept it’s a holiday. It isn’t only retail or religion that governs; it’s still an occasion for getting together with family and friends. I am upon considered examination of the matter more comfortable limiting the festivity to the fiction of Santa Claus which I know from my youth is more captivating than any revival I ever drew from the so-called virgin birth in a barn frequented by oddly distracted kings on camels who heralded a barbarous murderer of other people’s children. The apocryphal tales of the bible are contaminated with incoherent abuses which subsequently only get worse before the inevitable threat of complete defeat peculiarly called life after death (a strange ambition for those of us with little inclination for gambling). By comparison the dramas of Beckett’s “En attendant Godot“, Satre’s “Huis Clos” and Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” are more penetrating.
Tragedy in literature is a form of drama whose primary purpose is to evoke pleasure or catharsis, the purging of one’s emotions in its audience. This tradition of drama originated all the way to the Ancient Greeks in the writings of Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Euripides. Their culture has been carried on and modified by tragedians that succeeded them as Shakespeare, Henrik Ibsen, and Samuel Beckett.A tragic play if often characterized by a tragic hero that is characterized as almost perfect but possessed a cursed fate and a tragic flaw. Tragedies also include struggles between good and evil, external and internal conflicts, supernatural elements, comic relief, lack of poetic justice for the hero and other good characters, and of course, catharsis when the audience can relate with the plight of the hero.
Christmas in December – even in subtropical climates – is traditionally associated with snow or other common manifestations of winter. I prefer winter in the abstract. A Christmas card with real sparkles on the evergreen tree in the long snowy laneway is satisfyingly digestible. I’m perfectly prepared to accept reindeer that fly and transport a sleigh without snow. It makes Santa’s task at chimneys on rooftops far more convenient. And he won’t get his feet wet before descending to the living room.
Snow can be inhibiting during the Christmas season when vehicular travel reaches astronomic levels. And nothing poisons a perfect scene like slush. More immediately for me snow obstructs what little remains of my ability to walk.
I realize that what I am saying venerates what is fake and fantastic. Apparently this is the state to which I have willingly succeeded after a childhood of tobogganing, skating and skiing. As a young adult I transitioned the preoccupation to the sartorial focus of a raccoon coat and a shearling. Eventually even that gave way to the overwhelming admission that winter and snow no longer hold any appeal. Escaping that reality has become my unwitting purpose. Such is now the predominant feature of this time of year.