No one says 'Merry Christmas' any more.
When out shopping in December, especially down our local high street, those two words used to be bandied around a lot by well wishers. Yet this year, it seems to be non-existant.
I was out the other day, and I sort of felt embarrassed to say it because no one else was! How bad is that?! I suppose that's how it starts...people say it less, so you say it less, etc etc.
Or maybe there's a bigger reason?
Last year...actually no, it wasn't last year. Last year I was still in shell-shocked fatigue-dom after having Lib. Two years ago, I would pootle about doing my shopping saying it to whoever made the mistake of catching my eye, and getting many cheery responses in return.
Last year, I think I said it twice. The first time was at a supermarket check out, where I got a begrudging 'merrychristmas' from the cashier and lots of stares from the queue behind. I scuttled out with my tail between my legs. Going for broke, the second time was in a post office where I said it quite a jolly booming voice. I got a 'Merry Christmas' back but the guy had a strange 'I feel a bit sorry for you' grin on his face. It was only when I was leaving that I twigged, as an Indian, the chances of him celebrating Christmas are pretty slim! You utter fool.
But maybe that's the issue? I live in a very multicultural, and multi-faith city, and perhaps people are just much more aware that they may offend others by saying 'Merry Christmas'? Though would you really be offended, if someone made the mistake of giving you a wrong seasons greeting?! Surely it's more the embarrassment of having to say 'I don't celebrate Christmas', or the pressure to say it back when you don't believe - like my postmaster?
Or maybe people don't jolly around saying it because of the recession and the pressure Christmas brings? I suspect it's just become an expensive stress and a chore for those who are struggling to afford it. In which case, surely saying a simple 'Merry Christmas' (or whatever takes your fancy!) to make a gesture and spread a bit of Christmas cheer around, for free I hasten to add, is the way it's meant to be? With all this commercialism, there's very little spirit around, and this year in particular it's made me feel a bit sad.
I will do an experiment on Gloucester Road today, wishing all a Merry Christmas, and see how many smiles, well-wishes and funny looks I get! I will keep you posted.
But for now all I can say is.....MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!