Tim Blair


New Criterion



Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Ah, Christmas morning. A fresh day enlivened by the luxurious banalities of life.

The dog walked, the sloshing pool circumnavigated. The sun risen. Nothing discordant likely to intrude.

Until lunch time.

But you know that. It is probably dyspepsia and exhaustion that bring you to this page.

I console myself with the memory of Matthew Parris’s cogent explanation of why funerals are greatly to be preferred to weddings.

I know it seems like some contrarian conceit of the kind columnists are prone to, but the case is overwhelming

Only a blog-bore would reproduce so much text, but you can still read it on the Spectator’s site.

Uncle finds a strict analogy between Parris’s argument and his own preference for Easter over Christmas, former being the more satisfactory festival, even for an atheist.

Easter, combining the death and re-birth of the same and complete person, makes a much more satisfying subject for symbolism and celebration than the open-endedness of births, most of which fail to justify the hopes so enthusiastically invested in them.

Especially a birth celebrated by the inevitabilities, irritations and continuities of family life, which only the profoundly complacent can think merits such treatment.

If this were the mid-winter solstice Uncle could see the case for the kind of mindless celebration that consoles. Given the hemisphere we’re in, let’s abandon Christmas in favour of National Barbecue Day, when friends celebrate the lifestyle made possible by the climates of this blessed land. Any relationships closer than cousinage to be strictly excluded from this day’s festivities.

I am confident that the prattling Primate Carnley will hasten to embrace my idea once he realises the distress his congregation is causing the heathen majority by its selfishness; and I kill a few dozen Australians.

It’s no wonder we enliven Christmas with gift-giving, to co-opt the enthusiasm of the children. Who could bear it otherwise?