The myths of Christmas are going to ring true for many of you. They may not seem obvious at first but once you read them, you’ll see how the media has perpetrated a perfect vision of Christmas that for many just doesn’t happen. When it comes to Christmas, the TV is filled with images of snow covered scenes and happy families sitting down to a sumptuous feast with paper hats and children patiently waiting to see Santa, but what is the reality of the situation? What really lies behind these glossy joyous images and how accurate are they in comparison to real life? Just what are the myths of Christmas?
One of the major myths of Christmas is that everyone is happy on Christmas day, that families get together and all differences are forgiven and forgotten. Wrong! It can be a day of rows and disagreements between families and 39 per cent of people polled by Relate (UK Marriage Guidance Service) said they were likely to row on Christmas Day. Even arguing about what to watch on TV can be a problem on Christmas Day!
Statistically a ‘white Christmas’ with oodles of fresh fluffy snow is very unlikely despite the snow covered commercials indicating the contrary. Sadly a snow covered Christmas is one of the most widely perpetrated festive myths. While happy children play in the snow on commercials and Christmas films, it is in fact not a realistic portrayal of the weather that often occurs on Christmas day all over the world. For example, according to the Met Office, in Britain there has only been a Christmas covering of snow on four occasions in fifty one years. Needless to say, it is probably best not to expect to be making snowmen this year and while it is still possible, the falling of a snowflake or two is still statistically unlikely and more likely to happen at other times of the year.
Commercials and TV shows often show Mum dutifully preparing Christmas dinner in the home, ensuring that the turkey is gently basted and that the roast potatoes are just right, but this just isn’t the case in every household. In these modern times, making the Christmas meal isn’t just a job for Mum; many other family members get involved in the preparation and in some households relatives or partners make the Christmas meal. While in many households Mum may be preparing the meal this Christmas, it is an outdated view that this is always the case.
Contrary to some TV shows, not all households have a real Christmas tree in their house on the run up to Christmas. And how many commercials show people collecting a real tree? Real Christmas trees, while perhaps enjoyable and decorative, are often replaced with a more suitable reusable alternative such as artificial trees. Easy(ish) to pack away in January, 4 out of 5 people tend to buy artificial trees over their real counterparts, citing the difficulties of getting the tree home, the mass covering of pine needles atop the lovingly cleaned carpet and the fact that young spruces are cut down only to be disposed of within a month. While the Christmas Tree is a tradition in many homes this Christmas, it seems that most people are happier faking it than getting the real deal.
Even if you create a strictly tailored and realistic Christmas list and suggest that no one deviate from the list for the sake of the environment or to stop the onslaught of tacky presents, there will still be at least one present that is absolutely loathed. The idea that everyone will love every Christmas gift as perpetuated in films and commercials is comical when you think about it. This is one of the many myths of Christmas. While the majority of Christmas gifts are gratefully received and useful to their new owners, there are bound to be several presents that end up being given to charity or returned to the store in January, list or no list.
Christmas as portrayed on television often shows people gathering together with their families and celebrating the festive season together, but the fact is that lots of people actually spend Christmas alone. Whether down to choice, not having a family or close of friends or simply due to marriage breakdown or other circumstance, there are some people for whom the festive day will pass quite uneventfully. Not everyone wants to celebrate and they can often feel considerable pressure to get in on the Christmas spirit but if you don’t feel like it, this can be a time of great difficulty. Spending Christmas alone could actually be a restful way to spend the day, sitting and watching TV or enjoying a long bath.
While a traditional Christmas dinner with turkey and all the trimmings seems the norm, many families are choosing to eat their favourite meals on Christmas Day rather than fight their way through a huge meal that will take a hugely long time to prepare and a matter of minutes to devour. As Christmas fast approaches, certain foods sell out quickly or are seen as expensive, so sometimes having a simpler meal that can be easily prepared is a great alternative and saves the rush around the stores trying to find all the ingredients for the massive feast as portrayed on TV. Crackers and decorations are still present but the food itself can be just as delicious even if not traditional Christmas fare.
I’m sorry if I sound like Scrooge – far from it, I absolutely adore Christmas. I never say bah humbug, and am like a kid again for the whole season. The myths of Christmas show that it isn’t the same for everyone, that Christmas isn’t always perfect, and that the media gets it wrong. What do you think? I wish you all a very happy Christmas!
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