‘The season of good jeer…’

We have one set of grumpy, Grinchy people complaining about another equally grumpy, Grinchy group placing flowers and candles at a makeshift shrine to a murdered journalist

I could never really understand the whole ‘Christmas spirit’ thing myself. Everyone talks about it like it’s supposed to be a ‘season of joy and good cheer’; a time for ‘peace and goodwill to all mankind’, and all that… you know, when we all put aside our little differences, and pretend that we don’t actually hate each other’s guts that much (at least, not while the Christmas Tree is still up… and only until the January Sales, of course; after which everything immediately goes back to how it was before.)

And it all sounds great so far, don’t get me wrong. The social media would certainly be a slightly merrier and more cheerful place… if everyone took a small rest from just bitching endlessly about absolutely everything.

But while I do see the general gist of the idea, what I’ve never understood is: how are we realistically supposed to experience all this ‘mirth’ and ‘merriment’ in the first place… when we celebrate Christmas slap bang in the middle of frigging December?

‘Joy and good cheer’, my eye. A season of coughs and sore throats, more like it. There’s even a Christmas song some people are trying to get banned at the moment.

It’s called ‘Baby, it’s cold outside’. I’ve heard it said that the fuss is all about subliminal allusions to ‘date rape’ in the lyrics; but I reckon the real reason it’s that it’s just too darn realistic. It really is ‘cold outside… baby’.

And it’s bad enough that we have to feel it, without also having Bing Crosby crooning about it every five minutes on the radio.

There is, after all, only so much brutal truth the world can actually handle...

And this is precisely what I never ‘got’ about Christmas to begin with. Excuse me, but wasn’t it also supposed to have something to do with a ‘miraculous birth’?

And wasn’t Baby Jesus also the Son of God, who grew up to perform all sorts of other miracles… like walking on water, or raising people (including himself) from the dead?

So, if he really intended his birthday to be a cause for global celebration… couldn’t he at least have arranged to get himself born at a slightly warmer time of year?

Like, towards the beginning of July, perhaps? (That’s how he arranged things for me, for instance; and my birthdays are so warm and cosy, they are commemorated by firework displays as far afield as the United States of America.)

That way, we’d all be able go out and celebrate his birth, without also freezing our baubles off in the process.  Just think how much more ‘joyous’ and ‘cheerful’ we’d all be then, huh?

And how much deeper our voices would be, as we all join in the rousing chorus of Christmas Carols…

Oh, that’s another thing. Leaving aside the small detail that the temperature, at this time of year, is not exactly conducive to ‘festive merriment’ anyway – not to mention the humidity; personally,

I’ve always thought it rather inconsiderate of Jesus not to consider the climatic conditions in other parts of the world, when organising his global birthday party – how, pray tell, are ‘Christmas Carols’ supposed to inspire universal feelings of ‘peace of goodwill to all mankind’?
Quite the contrary, I would have thought. Take ‘The Little Drummer Boy’, for instance.

I would joyfully and triumphantly listen to him being ‘rap-a-pum-pummed’ with a sledgehammer, rather than hear that awful tune one more time.

Honestly, give me Silent Night any day. No, I mean that literally: as in, ‘silent’. (Shush).

Because of course, nights were kind of ‘silent’ around here… before every shop and loudspeaker in the neighbourhood suddenly starting blaring that tune, day in, day out, for two whole months. I mean… rub it in, why don’t you?

Go right ahead and remind us of all the ‘peace and goodwill’ we were all enjoying, before you went and started all this infernal racket…

But to be fair, that’s just me. And in case you haven’t already noticed, I’m down with a particularly nasty cold at the moment. (All because he chose December, of all times of year. Bah, humbug!) So to cut myself some slack… at least, I have an excuse for my grumpy-Grinchiness this Christmas.

It takes the form of around 200 strains of virus – mostly rhinoviruses – all sharing the same general symptoms… which in my case include a foul temper, and more of an obnoxiously antisocial disposition than usual. And there isn’t even any known cure for it, either. (Except Hot Toddy, of course. It is widely known that Hot Toddy cures absolutely everything, including obnoxiously an-tisocial dispositions).

And in any case; clearly I am not the only one who’s finding it hard to get into the Christmas spirit this year. Just look at Ana Gomez, for example.

What an awful cold she must be have been suffering from, to suddenly turn into such a snappish crab like that. Jeering and heckling, while everyone else was applauding… just like the Grinch, in fact. No time to be merry, when there are festive atmospheres to poison, and smiles to turn into scowls…

But who can blame her? ‘Baby, it’s cold outside’, remember? And that was in Lisbon, too… where winters are colder than here. So she has even more of an excuse to be a miserable old sod than I do.

Then there’s Paris. For let’s face it: we’ll always have Paris. Or what’s left of it, anyway. You can just make out the silhouette of the Arc de Triomphe through the tear-gas in some of the photos… otherwise, you’d think it might be Syria or Yemen. And just before Christmas, too. What could have caused this widespread onset of violent, antisocial behaviour, I wonder?

A nasty outbreak of ‘flu, I would imagine. Explains why they’re all wrapped up in scarves, and wearing thermal yellow vests…

But if this year’s marked lack of Christmas spirit really is caused by a virulent common cold pandemic… and I can think of no other reason offhand… it must have hit Malta with a truly epic, Biblical vengeance.

Viewed from this angle, we seem to have been visited by all the 12 Plagues of Humbug at once.

We have one set of grumpy, Grinchy people complaining about another equally grumpy, Grinchy group placing flowers and candles at a makeshift shrine to a murdered journalist.

And the confrontations over the choice of national monument – which, let’s face it, is merely the superficial manifestation of much deeper, underlying animosities – just keeps intensifying the closer we get to Christmas itself.

At least one person has been hospitalised (under very vague and sketchy circumstances); and who knows? The Advent Calendar is still ticking. Perhaps by 25 December we’ll have managed to stir up enough open hostility to enjoy a full-blown national riot of our own.

Can’t let the Parisians have all the fun, now can we? And besides, there’s good looting to be had in that particular neighbourhood, or so I’ve heard. It’s slap bang in the heart of Republic Street, at peak Christmas shopping season.

What could possibly go wrong…?

All right, then. If nobody else is seeing where all this will inevitably end – and I’ll give you a hint; it certainly won’t end in ‘peace and goodwill to all mankind’ – perhaps I should be the one to lead by example. All my deliberately irreverent crabbiness, di-rected the Christmas season, above?

I’ll make an effort to curb it in future, OK? Com-mon cold or no common cold, I shall be the first to endeavour to be more cheerful and jolly this Christmas, or die of pneumonia in the attempt.

Just for Christmas, mind you: and even then, merely for the sake of maintaining a superficial veneer of festivity for its own sake.

For no matter how artificial and contrived the idea of ‘Christmas spirit’ might be… no matter how painfully obvious that everyone’s just going through the motions: for the sake of the children, or the family, or for the benefit of the wider community, or whatever… it’s still a sight better than just ripping into each together, with increasing ferocity, all the bloody time.

So I’m perfectly willing to do my own bit… but I’m going to need a little help.

Let’s see now: half a dozen lemons… check.

Pot of honey… check… one bottle of blended Scotch Whiskey... coming right up. And… it’s Hot Toddy time! Yay! Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry

Christmas, everyone…!

See? I told you it cures absolutely everything …

More in Blogs