What’s your preferred Christmas paradigm? As a judgmental arse I find it calming to label every one of the people I meet over the next 48 hours under one of these labels:
If you hate Christmas shopping and gifts as pretty much meaningless and classist, you’ll probably go for Marx. Or Scrooge. Somewhere in there. Pick up some Marx summary notes and start from there.
If you get frustrated and ticked off with family infighting and crying and shouting and other neurotic displacement activities, well, at base you’re probably a Freudian or a Jungian. Make a symbol, write a little story or curse on it and then burn it.
If you’re just waiting for the next wine, next chocolate, and next present to be unwrapped, but can’t be sure if the next one will be quite as pleasurable as the last one, in fact whether your present and your salad concoction is as good as your sisters’, you are a straight Mills utilitarian.
If you find yourself wanting to run for the hills, lighting large beachside bonfires, getting drunk on starlight alone and raging against the futility of all the oppression and masculinist toxicity you see, well you might take some comfort in Women Who Run With the Wolves, feminist pagans, a little Helene Cixous or Mary Daly or some such.
If you find yourself jumping spontaneously off the couch after watching television advertising and running into the street with a bunch of close colleagues and a box of explosives preparing to blow the nearest mall out to the ocean at the sheer stupidity and waste of it all, you’re an anarchist.
If you find yourself crooning along to Jim Reeves singing The Old Rugged Cross on a guitar, getting all misty-eyed with your older aunties as they tell you how hard things were in the 1930s and your uncles explain again about the different role of gunners in the Korean and Vietnam Wars and agreeing with them about how interesting Trump is going to make things, then you are an evangelical. Their toilet will have a Readers Digest in it for your pleasure.
If you find yourself trying to theorize about the meaning of love mediated through Catholic Christmas carols, try Kristeva’s In The Beginning Was Love, or lullaby to a little Ellul.
If you are already into the third draft of the 2017 project plan of your life about how you are going to practise your nascent virtues including cycling to work, eating more Kale, doing more hand-washing, and completing your ironing on a Sunday evening, you are an Aristotelian, practicing your Nichomachean ethics. Not enough of you on the planet, and you know it.
Turn off the tv.
Turn on the ideas.
It’s good for us all.