December 14, 2013

Midway Point

It’s the 14th, so we’re halfway through the runup to the Festering Season, and pretty much in the midst of the whole marketing frenzy. It’s started earlier this year – my local Tossco had Christmas cards on sale in September (cue epic levels of swearing, and a complaint to the “Customer Experience Manager”, a spotty little twerd with no understanding of Customers or Experiences, let alone managing them)

[NOTE : I’ve just realised that I’d got my maths wrong, and the 14th is past mid-way. That would’ve been the 12th. Well done Lyle, you unutterable knob-end]

But since December 1st, all the advertising has been geared towards the Festering Season. Drifts of gift ideas, masses of jewellery, millions of music compilation discs (for the person you don’t know very well), tons of tat and tech, shitloads of scents, forkloads of food. It’s all being done to persuade people of the Festival of Tat, all done to make people feel worthwhile by what they buy for people and – more importantly – what they received.

The advertising, the media, the whole perception appears to be about the materialistic side of Christmas – after all, think, when was the last time you saw *anything* in the retail world about the true meaning of the Festering Season?

Life is nothing – supposedly – without the latest tablet device, albums, perfume, food, cards, gifts, parties and social status. That’s “normal”, isn’t it? It’s the season of excess (and XFactor) where it’s apparently OK to focus on things, to show worth through presents, (and receipt of reciprocals) to fill fridges and freezers with food for the family – and probably chuck a good proportion away.

By the time the 25th comes round, we’re all tired of the run-up, and the day itself feels like even more of a relief – except now comes the time for advertising the New Year sales, stopping smoking, health and fitness, and whatever else will be “new year’s resolutions”.

Marketing has its own calendar, its own chorus of events that it needs to promote, and the great majority of people just follow it, accept those views as ‘normal’, and it’s all fine.

Let’s make it different next year. Even small changes can snowball (sorry) into larger ones if more people get involved. It’s too late (probably) for this year – although if it isn’t, great, make the change this year. If nothing else, you could do something like give a gift here .

“Every year, Refuge try to ensure every mum and child spending the festive season in one of their refuges receives a minimum of two parcels under the tree. You could help make sure that there’s a child in a refuge opening a gift on Christmas morning

See what’s around. Is there a place you could help out? It doesn’t matter whether it’s through donations, fund-raising, giving your own time, doing some work for someone else – it doesn’t matter. Help at a shelter, a soup kitchen. Work on a phoneline – not a sex one, KTD – and make a difference.

From personal experience – and if one wants a bit of self-interest in all this – it’s a good feeling to walk/drive home on Christmas Day (or any other day) and know you’ve done something positive, something to help someone else.

And that is – or at least it should be – what the Festering Season is truly about.

Disclaimer : This year, I’m actually spending Christmas Day with my close family for the second time in as many years. Which is scary in itself, but for very different reasons. Next year will be a return to being different.

In the meantime, there’s a little idea boggling round about making this whole idea a bigger thing, but that’s still nascent and being prepared for reality.


3 thoughts on “Midway Point

  1. And of course the New Year sales often start on boxing day. And some even on Christmas day itself.

  2. That was really quite poetic and moving.

    There is a local charity called First Days here that collects used baby gear from the affluent and redistributes it to the skint, so I publicise that a lot to my clientele, who are generally among the affluent. Bernard and I are going to go and do a supermarket shop specifically for the local foodbank.

    I’d love to know what your little idea is, Lyle.

  3. Thanks – and yes, nice placement of the break, too.

    It started off as a very different rant – the 14th was relevant for a different reason to just being halfway (OK, just over halfway) but it never gelled as a post, so this was what came next.

    (As always, never go with something that comes first)

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