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Paul Duncan

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The Reality of Christmas
by Paul Duncan   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Sunday, December 09, 2007
Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2007

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Strip away the illusion of Chistmas and take a look at the real meaning Christmas.

Picture the scene: Fresh white snow nestling on the ground. Stars shimmering like sequins in the clear night sky. The sound of church bells in the distance gently massaging your ears. Little children singing Christmas Carols in voices that could only have been a gift received from angels.

In every window Christmas trees and lights seem to draw you in. The joyous expressions on the faces of people as they hurry home carrying beautifully wrapped presents for their loved ones.

This scenario is a perfect picture of Christmas. It could have come from the pages of a Dickens novel, a Christmas everyone that everyone wants to see and experience. But we all know that this is really a fantasy Christmas. So let’s scrape away the surface and look at the reality.

Let us take snow for instance. On a Christmas card the ground would be covered by a beautiful blanket of snow, with a small child wandering off in to the distance, leaving a trail of miniature footprints. But what we really have are streets covered in dirty grey slush, which is buried with dog dirt and is usually splattered all over you from speeding traffic.

As for the innocent little child, all he wants to do is to throw lumps of this dirty grey slush at your head. The appreciation of Christmas is clearly lost on this little monster. If you try to say anything to this demonic imp, your chances of being shot would probably increase drastically.

You may wish to raise your head skywards to gaze upon the beauty of the heavens at this special time of year, but beware; that while you are wandering around trying to locate the star of Bethlehem, the chances are that you will be struck by a speeding car, and an irate driver will get out and beat you to a pulp for damaging his colour coded fender.

There is also the possibility that while you are stumbling around with your neck craned upwards you will be violently assaulted by a gang of twelve year olds who run off with your Christmas purchases your phone and your wallet. Leaving you lying on the ground with a taste of dirty grey slush and blood in your mouth, with visions of very different stars.

Then there is the sound of bells from a faraway church drifting gently to your ears. This therapeutic sound fills your mind with compassion and love for your fellow man.

At this point odd looking people clutching charity boxes begin to descend on you from all directions. They demand money for causes ranging from the care of abandoned donkeys in Peru, to the little girl with an in-grown toenail, who can recover if she can be sent to Disneyland. Refusal to donate normally leads to dirty looks and verbal abuse.So it’s wise to give heartily, so the donkey and the poor girl can have a wonderful Christmas.

In the week leading into Christmas you get the expected knock on the door. You happily open the door, hoping to cast your eyes on a choir of charming little children holding candles. Who then proceed to sing a medley of your favourite Christmas carols with voices that make you want to weep with delight.

Unfortunately standing before you are three rather large teenagers holding onto a very large and fierce looking pit bull, which has a santa hat tightly draped over its skull. They then begin to snarl out their rendition of ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’, in voices if heard by a Catholic priest would immediately recommend an exorcism.

After about twenty seconds the awful noise stops. They seem to have forgotten the words. They then demand ten dollars for their efforts in entertaining you. As you ponder on how to handle this delicate situation, the dog sensing your nervousness, lifts its upper lip almost over its head, and displays a magnificent set of teeth as it growls at you. The decision arrives quite quickly. You reach into your pocket and hand over ten bucks. After all it is Christmas.

As you walk through the illuminated streets you see people through the windows of their homes. Laughing and having fun as they decorate their trees. You arrive home after explaining to a suspicious police officer that you were just sharing in their happiness and was not a peeping tom or a pervert.

The Christmas tree has arrived from an internet site, and you realize that it’s much bigger than you initially thought. In fact it would be a challenging climb for King Kong. The tree lights which were carefully packed away after the previous Christmas have mysteriously fused into a large knotted ball, which takes most of the night to unravel.

Finally it’s done, and you switch on the lights. There seems to be an absence of….er…..light. So you check 299 of the 300 bulbs before you remember that you had removed the fuse many months ago to replace the one in your toaster.

You want to purchase the presents for the kids at a toyshop filled with a festive atmosphere. Where the checkout cashiers after packing your purchases for you, wish you a Merry Christmas as they wave goodbye when you leave.

You visualize the excitement on your kids faces as they unwrap monopoly and other popular board games on Christmas morning. Alas those kids and that toyshop do not exist, not on this planet. Firstly your kids want the latest Japanese invention, which is ‘The Skullbeater’. A new game consul which is strapped to your face. The throbbing pulse in your temple acts as a controller, and extremely rapid eye movement gives you extra lives.

You also have to participate in a vicious trolley battle with other parents. Who are also in the hunt for this popular but now elusive ‘Skullbeater’ phenomenon. This is very reasonably priced at nine hundred and eighty dollars.

An elderly man blocks your route to the tills. He stands pointing to a football on a shelf, and asks an assistant ‘excuse me miss, are there chocolates in that?’ You manage to squeeze past this very confused fellow and steer yourself deviously to the till with the Shortest queue.

No advantage is gained as the customer in front has picked an item with no barcode and now there is a queue forming behind you. The checkout girl makes an announcement in her headset microphone for someone to check the price of the item in question. You wait; watching the checkout girl smoothing down her eyebrows with her saliva. Fifteen minutes later she repeats her announcement.

Finally you manage to vacate the shop with no sign of a cheery goodbye from anyone. You load up your car, and then remove the three empty trolleys people have kindly left in front of your car and head for home.

When almost at your front door, the eighty year old lady from next door totters out and screeches ‘been Christmas shopping’?. Obviously confusing the fact that she is deaf and not you. She begins to share her memories of past Christmases. Fortunately she can’t recall too many and you manage to get indoors, before any serious damage can incur from frostbite.

Christmas morning arrives and you regain consciousness. Your head is pounding from the previous night’s celebrations. You spend the next hour wondering where your eyeballs have gone, and why your mouth feels as if mushrooms are about to grow in it.

As the end of the day dawns, the reality hits you. You have spent a fortune on buying presents for everyone, and in return all you have are a few pairs of cheap socks and half a gallon of foul smelling aftershave called ‘Zulu’.Oh lets not forget the present your youngest child made for you at school out of clay. It’s not something you can really use as nobody seems to know what it is, and you wouldn’t want to hurt the poor child’s feelings by asking.

The festive season is concluded by New Years Eve. Where you get together with friends and family to discuss this years resolutions. Which are more Than likely to be the same as last years. Gallons of alcohol continue to be poured down your throat. The fact that you are giggling like a demented hyena and showing off by balancing an ashtray on your head, as you dance, only adds to the fun.

The strange thing is that you always start the New Year as you finish the old: drunk and penniless. Season greetings to all.

Reader Reviews for "The Reality of Christmas"

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Reviewed by alex dihes (алик дайхес) (Reader)
my son, this a cry of child who expected the holyday tobe like in a fantastic dream. you are supposed to be a grown up man, judging by your picture. so why do you want to share your whinning demanding - from who? - give me nice holyday. what is an idea, a thought, at least, you try to convey? write when you have an uderstanding - a new for the world - and you just have to share it with others.
I do not know whether to laugh or cry. Nevertheless ... Merry Christmas! get on your own feet.
Reviewed by Joanna Leone
I really enjoyed reading your work! I admire your light hearted humor. It made me smile, especially the paragraph about the 80 year old woman from next door "who totters and screeches... " This brought a smile to my face, as I was able to relate to this! Stop into my authorsden sometime and let me know what you think
Reviewed by Reginald Johnson
I did not know whether to laugh or cry. Nevertheless ... Merry Christmas!
Reviewed by m j hollingshead
enjoyed the read
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