It’s this time of the year again. Christmas lights are out, party glitter is in, and pop songs determined to remind you that Christmas is here. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy festivities, their sense of purpose and occasion, and even the mindless running around because it’s somewhat justified. This is my sixth year in the UK, and though it still feels somewhat wrong to see the sun set at 3:30pm, I’m finally getting a bit used to the grayness of winter offsetting the bright colors of Christmas.
So in the attempt of joining the festive activities, I procrastinated from my thesis by doing a little bit of window shopping myself. I was browsing the clothes racks in H&M when I heard the corniest Christmas song ever:
This peppermint winter is so sugar sweet,
(Really? What about mulled wine? And minced pies?)
I don’t need to taste to believe.
(Um, I guess not, especially if you’ve had peppermint before.)
What’s December without Christmas Eve?
(We’d save a lot of money, that’s for sure!)
I puked in the changing room. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but it was close. I found this song’s called “Peppermint Winter” by Owl City:
I must be really behind on pop songs because this song was released in 2010 and I’ve never heard of it. Apologies to anyone who likes this song, but I’m still puzzled at whether this song takes itself seriously, or is it a parody on Christmas songs. For example:
I rip off the wrapping and tear through the box
Till I end up with forty-five new pairs of socks.
Surely this must be a poke at how Christmas has become irrevocably complicit with modern day capitalism?
In less affluent times, the purpose of gift giving was to pamper and spoil family and friends. Now that most people can get what they need, consumerism has overwhelmed that purpose, not only by drilling into you that you must buy something to show that you care for someone, but also by making Christmas a stressful shopping spree. People buy for the sake of buying, and we end up with stacks of ripped wrapping paper and unwanted items that make their way to eBay. Yet, we can’t seem to escape from this consuming cycle as service industries make most of their revenues during Christmas sales, especially in this recession that seems to be lasting forever. On the consuming end, we also look for excuses to exercise our buying power in order to feel in control.
“Peppermint Winter” is so catchy that it’s stuck in my head. But you can hardly expect H&M to play “My Body is a Cage” (by Arcade Fire). I don’t think this will happen on an average day, and certainly not in December. Imagine what this will do to the clothes sale. The H&M marketing people wouldn’t be too happy about it.