Have you heard the news? It’s shocking! Mr Scrooge was stitched up by a bloke called Dickens.
This decent, honourable and, let’s face it, generous businessman was horribly traduced by a journalist masquerading as a social historian. In later years once dead, he was aided and abetted by the rapacious and money-grubbing empire set up by Walt Disney. And he was played by a cartoon duck, for heaven’s sake!
Not for Mr Scrooge the sentimental tosh that passes for Christmas; oh no.
For good old Ebenezer, Christmas was a time to make merry and give … OK; I cannot carry on in this vein. I admit it, old Ebenzer was a bit of a ghastly pill, as Bertie Wooster might have put it, at least at the beginning of the parable in which he stars.
But to use his name to abuse those for whom Christmas is a dear and lovely time and yet who really have no patience or affection for its commercial horrors (the annual John Lewis ad for one) is unfair in the extreme.
My beloved wife spends an entire Sunday in late November/early December writing cards to many people, some of whom I believe we know. She says it’s a friendly and pleasant thing to do and she is a very kind and friendly person. The effort expended indicates fellow feeling for fellow humans. She also says I’m like Scrooge; it’s an unfair comparison because I love Christmas.
I love that our daughter loads her phone with Christmas sounds and that the school run is made merry with music that isn’t Katy ‘Bloody’ Perry or similar.
But I draw the line at corporate Christmas cards. Some years ago, the then Volvo PR manager responded, when I thanked him for the card sent by his team, by thanking me for mine. A courteous exchange apart from the fact that at the time of our conversation, we had yet to send out our cards…
We have never sent them since.
I especially hate idle digital versions and there is a dedicated circle in Hell for the vainglorious smug bastards who send you a mail saying they’re not sending cards but making a donation to distressed bankers or some other commercial charity.
At Christmas it is far better that we are quietly kind to strangers because of compassion rather than so we can be boastful about it.
Impersonal corporate cards, just like impersonal emails, are not a great way to help folk feel good. Senders or recipients alike, I’d say.