Another new year. Welcome to 2010! As a species, we have wallowed in the booze, eaten far too many chocolates and cakes, and said things to people we see once a year that we have already regretted. We have been to parties that were just noisy accompaniments to silly dancing. We have worn clothes that will live in the depths of the wardrobe until next year, when you hope no-one will remember them.
Christmas is a time for getting together with your family (check), eating too much (check) and drinking too much (check). It is a time for the card makers to rub their hands with glee, shares in wrapping paper to rocket and the turkey farmers to sit back and listen to the ‘chink, chink’ sound of money hitting their bank accounts. Surfeits are essential and the wave of regret and self-loathing that follows as inevitable as night following day.
This year, we didn’t send any Christmas cards. Apart from the fact that they don’t say what we want to say, the cost of sending them is greater than the original purchase! Consequently, we turned to a less tree-destroying, money-eating method and emailed our greetings around the world. In some ways, I have been resisting this turn for quite a while. I am saddened by the passing of letter writing and wish I did more of it. Unfortunately, it is much easier and quicker to contact people via the Internet – and a damned sight more reliable than most postal services! I’m thinking – you’re still making contact.
Then there’s the age-old chestnut. Any of you made any resolutions? Of course you did! All those plans to lose weight, save more money, be kinder to your friends and family. Those are common resolutions. They are always broken. We know that when we make them. Anything that requires the slightest sustained effort doesn’t stand a chance. Giving more to charity – that’s another one. That goes well until the gas bill is due or the car needs some repairs. Then, the money is always better in your own pocket. Did you realise that buying something you actually need in a charity shop constitutes giving to charity? No-one is expecting you to furnish your house there, or renew your wardrobe, but the small gestures mount up. You don’t have to take your elderly parent to live with you. Popping in for an hour or two once every week or so has a lasting effect, too. There is no need to join Weight-Watchers and Slimming World to lose two thirds of your body mass in three weeks. Smaller portions on a smaller plate (psychology!) and lay off the biscuits will make a huge difference.
Wait a minute. These all sound like good, common sense. Why don’t I do it? Because I’m human. It’s a sad fact that good ol’ human nature will get in the way all the time. It would be heartening to think that, one day, people will celebrate Christmas in the way it should be. Even if you’re not Christian, the sentiments bear a second look. It would be great if we could manage to stick to a least one of our resolutions. If we don’t give ourselves too hard a task, it might just work. Maybe I’ll pick one and see if I can do it. Now – which one will it be …?
Happy New Year!