Sunday 25 February 2018

Anna Nolan: Non-believers step away from the turkey and the tinsel? We do on our nelly

Anna Nolan
Anna Nolan

Anna Nolan

I remember every year as I asked my late dad what his plans were for Christmas, he would have the same response: "It's only one day."

He was sensible and, although he did the whole kit and caboodle when we were children, he never fully bought into the silly season.

I, on the other hand, have gone the other way and put up my Christmas tree on Sunday. Three weeks before C-Day.

I had been eyeing up trees for a while and couldn't arrive quicker to my local seller. (Who, by the way, sells just lawn mowers in the summer and just Christmas trees at Christmas time. Funny.)

I did some shopping the day before - more browsing than shopping. But still, getting my head into the Yuletide season. On Sunday afternoon, I watched The Santa Clause. What is WRONG with me?

Why is it that so many of us lose the run of ourselves and turn what should be some simple celebrations into one massive spending spree?

Sparkly lights are the subliminal signal to spend money, and with that comes unnecessary stress.

The origins of present-buying go back to the beginning of humankind - if you look after my goats, I'll give you a thank you gift of some eggs. Or something like that.

Of course, you have the most obvious inception of giving gifts - the Three Wise Men. However, indulgence in today's world could not be further from the meaning of Christmas.

I am not a Catholic but even though I have stopped with the religious side of this festival, I have continued with all the other stuff.

Surely all of us who have ceased going to Mass or have realised they don't believe should also step away from the turkey, the tree, the tinsel and the truffles?

We do on our nelly. We love it all the same.

Yes, it's the family gatherings and the acts of kindness. But it's also the desire, the want, to buy into the period of consumption. We can peacefully feed our greed.

Why don't I just say to everyone I'm cancelling Christmas? Why don't I save a fortune by treating it as "just one day"?

Why? Because I hate the idea that I would be the only house on the street that didn't have a tree.

I would miss the Christmas carols and The Polar Express. I would be so sad without the turkey and ham. I love Christmas because all those extras are associated with memories, nostalgia and history.

I hear that Fr Peter McVerry has asked people to donate their water charge refunds to three charities, called The Refund Project.

What a fantastic idea. If I was to make one adjustment this year, I would go with this and give my refund to the Simon Community, Focus Ireland and the Peter McVerry Trust.

We can all get caught up in the madness at this time of year, and for many of us it really is "just one day".

But for these people, it's their lives.

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