Bryan Hemming

short stories, comment, articles, humour and photography

¡Felices Fiestas! A Christmas Tale

Merry Christmas WP 2015

Christmas lights Conil de la Frontera – Graphics: Bryan Hemming

Warning! Some may find the contents of this post disturbing.

Happy Christmas folks! Okay, so I’m a cynical hypocrite out to exploit a time of giving by wanting to be on the receiving end. The best way to do that is to pretend I like Christmas. I thought that’s what we all did. What can you expect from a fessed-up atheist and anarchist? If you’re kind enough to invite scroungers like me round for Christmas dinner, you can hardly expect me not to gobble up your turkey and guzzle down all your best wine. People like me see it as our duty to get sozzled enough to complain bitterly about almost everything under the sun, especially Christmas. We’ll tell  you you’re a bunch of brainwashed capitalist lackeys before swearing at you, downing the last dregs of your finest brandy, snatching up the gifts you generously bestowed on us and slamming the door behind us as we leave in a huff.

But don’t we all become hypocritical frauds at Christmas? That’s what the season of goodwill is about. More or less. While wishing the neighbours you hate a ‘Very Merry’ out loud, beneath your frosty breaths, you wish they’d never moved in and hope they’ll choke to death on a turkey bone before the year’s out.

Let’s face it, Scrooge was right; Christmas is one big whopping fib from start to finish. It’s a time when grown-ups con their innocents into believing Santa Claus comes down the chimney heaving a sack stuffed with toys. Even those who don’t have chimneys. They know full well it’s the same bare-faced lie they were told as nippers. In most households, despite their begging letters to Santa, the little rascals will be getting far more new underpants and socks than they will Lego sets and fluffy bunnies.

But we growns-ups still insist on perpetuating the great Christmas hoax in full realisation of the disppointment that will come the day some smart-arsed kid mocks little Justin and Taylor to tears just because their parents didn’t have the guts to tip them the wink. It happens to us all one day.

Yet we carry on the tradition of deceit despite knowing karma will wreak revenge when the lie rebounds. Spotty teenagers intent on sucking whatever worldly wealth you have left, before you throw them out on the streets, don’t forget things like the lie of Christmas. They throw it back in your face at every opportunity. Just because your parents did it to you doesn’t let you off the hook; theirs did it to them, and so on, right back to the Garden of Eden where Eve nicked an apple off the tree of knowledge when she thought God wasn’t looking. Dishonesty runs through  our genes.

Lying your way through Christmas for the little ones, so they will learn how to do it, is an annual rite of passage we all have to go through to make children suffer. It begins with Mum and Dad deceiving themselves into believing they have enough spare dosh to go out to the shops to buy lots of stuff nobody actually needs. Experts in fraud, the banks more than encourage the racket by loaning money they don’t have either, having gambled it away in Ponzi schemes decades ago. They just conjure it up on computer screens knowing the shops will go along with the scam till the day we see all of us have no clothes. Meanwhile, we conspire to keep the illusion alive by pretending we do. It’s an ill wind. The rusting Yuletide sledge of false hope must carry on flying aboard the wingless merry-go-round of double-dealing plowing its voyage through the sea of deception in a sieve made of sand, to mix metaphors with scant regard for the English language.

Back in the home they pretend to own, while enjoying the pleasure of forking out a hefty sum in mortgage repayments each month for most of their working lives, Mum and Dad scowl at each other for buying all those unecessary extras they now have to wrap. It’s Christmas Eve, a time to look forward to bleak winter months of endless overtime to satisfy the never-ending greed of the banks, who always want you to pay back their Mickey Mouse cash with the real stuff. Having nobody else to blame Mum and Dad go for each other’s jugulars. Stark reality is beginning to dawn. Demand after Christmas is low and bills are high; they will be lucky to get any overtime at all. But hey, it is Christmas. Maybe it’ll go on forever this year and nobody will wake up.

Seeking solace in a pitcher of extra strong mulled wine Mum and Dad hope the artificial sensation of cheer derived will lead to eventual oblivion before midnight, instead of blowing up into the anger and resenment they have been concealing all year. To the sound of Bing Crosby dreaming of a white Christmas yet again, they wrap gifts ever more erratically, in direct relation to the number of refills following refills.

A sad-looking fake fir tree, assembled from boxes of green plastic in the sombre grey atmosphere of an industrial wasteland on the outskirts of a Chinese megacity draped in permanent clouds of poisonous fog, leans to one side as its twinkling lights attempt to brighten the miserable lives of a mock Christian family weighed down by visions of even more debt in a lifetime of debt without end. The cheap flashy tack that sparkled and beckoned from the overloaded shelves of a giant store doesn’t seem quite so attractive now. Without uttering a word to one another, the partners in artifice and trickery try to recall a time they didn’t see Christmas through a blur of alcohol. Surrounded by sheets of gaudy plastic and paper, as rolls of sticky tape roll out of reach, they try to fashion a Christmas past that never really existed outside their heads into the perfect Christmas of their imaginations. They pretend they are doing it for the children. They went Christmas shopping to buy a dream on credit but were sold a nightmare of debt.

Comforting themselves with ‘just one more before bed’ they convince themselves that at least they will be teaching Justin and Taylor how unfair the world is. A world where even Mums and Dads tell packs of lies. The lack of faith and betrayal of trust Justin and Taylor will learn from Christmas will help them cope with the truth that everybody — even their parents — are out to con them.

So, I wonder whose Christmas joy I’m going to spoil with my cynicism this year, I may have run myself out of options. Anybody got a spare seat at the table for New Year?

Eric Idle’s Christmas song



14 comments on “¡Felices Fiestas! A Christmas Tale

  1. Laura Bloomsbury
    December 30, 2015

    The lie that is Christmas! I missed this Grinch post and wholeheartedly agree with your horror of these tinsellated times- we should go back to knitting jumpers and socks instead – what shoe size are you? Feeling as nostalgic now as ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’
    Happy New Year and to hell with the credit cards!


  2. Jack Binding
    December 29, 2015

    I think Christmas gives us licence to consume. We’re told constantly we want these arbitrary things – filet mignon, iMac, a bottle of Nyetimber, And it’s all in the name of Jesus, or whatever. It’s not really, though, is it? It’s in the name of money.
    And the Doctor Who special was crap.


    • Bryan Hemming
      January 1, 2016

      Oh, money, money, money the barrier that has always separated me from the life of luxury for which I was intended. If only they didn’t insist I have to work for the stuff I’d be rich.

      Some bastard only had go and invite me to his New Year’s Eve party after reading this post. I never go out on New Year’s Eve! That’s another annual tradition down the pan. Suppose I’ll have to start all over again the end of this year.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wendy Kate
    December 24, 2015

    Have a good one, Bryan. It`s better here than in the UK for sure, it didn’t start too early. Mind you, I might just have to go and strangle that zambomba player in a minute…. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bryan Hemming
      December 24, 2015

      You too, Wendy. Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel, scraping the side of the bottle is much worse.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. navasolanature
    December 24, 2015

    We’re in Spain for our first Christmas away from the UK. So thanks for reminding us what we were trying to escape from! We may watch a cabal gata from the sidelines and maybe be thrown a sweet!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bryan Hemming
      December 24, 2015

      Have a great time. Down here in Andalucia is a very good place to be at fiesta time of any sort. The Spanish really know how to enjoy themselves,

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Colltales
    December 24, 2015

    I too tread carefully during these big dates. Problem is, living in a big city there’s no way to avoid the noise and, once it’s all over, there’s that sense of emptiness which makes everything so much harder to face. So, lately, my strategy is to go full blown into things: see the godamn tree, watch the window displays, get squeezed to death by the crowds in midtown. Once it’ all over, I’m so tired that I’m actually grateful it’s all gone. As for spending time with family, a few of us are indeed lucky, and its quite a treasured treat we all still savor every year. Enjoy those close to you while they still put up with you, it’s what I’d say. Cheers.


    • Bryan Hemming
      December 24, 2015

      Yes, when I lived in the big city I began to realise the run-up was far better than the actual event, and wandered about drinking it all in. The days following Christmas were certainly empty, with the majority of people trying to get sober enough to plunge right into New Year’s Eve celebrations. Call me a party-pooper but, from about the age of 30, I started going to bed way before midnight. Around that time I began to wish I was a hibernating bear and wouldn’t have to wake up till spring,

      Liked by 1 person

      • Colltales
        December 24, 2015

        Well, not even bears are sleeping that long these days..Glad I’m not the only one. All the best.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Dina
    December 24, 2015

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nil
    December 24, 2015

    Well – you certainly did not bottle it up 😀 Christmas Anger at its best! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bryan Hemming
      December 24, 2015

      Though there’s a lot of truth in what I say, it’s a long time since I participated In the more hedonistic side of Christmas. These days, Angelica and I usually enjoy watching the festivities from the sidelines, wishing people weren’t so taken it by the commercial aspect of it.

      They spend so much money they don’t have, and then spend so much time worrying about it afterwards.

      Then I think of all those without famly or friends who spend Christmas by themselves, For too many the emphasis on family gatherings serves only as a stark reminder of their loneliness.

      That said, have a lovely Christmas, Nil! :-))

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nil
        December 24, 2015

        So true… and when you listen to people around you in a shop, it’s all about ‘I really don’t know what to buy for aunt Mary..’ all that worrying before it is even Christmas… I prefer the sidelines as well, really…
        But nevertheless, dito Bryan 😉

        Liked by 1 person

Don't bottle it up, let everybody know your opinion. And please feel free to leave a link to any of your recent posts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on December 24, 2015 by in Articles, Humour and tagged .

Member of The Internet Defense League

Rules on comments

As the comments sections are not intended to be general forums, comments are expected to bear some relevance to the subject of the post. Nevertheless, I do allow some generous leeway in this, particularly if I judge the comment to be of special interest.

Although I'm only too happy to link to your posts, those posts should be your own work, and not the work of others, due to copyright issues.

Follow Bryan Hemming on

Blogs I check out

Follow Bryan Hemming on

These caught my eye

Follow Bryan Hemming on


  • 96,889 hits

Top Clicks

  • None


Caitlin Johnstone

Daily Writings About The End Of Illusions


To write about my memories, past and present

The Silent War

An exploration into understanding the complexities of the Chemical Age, the Synthetic Chemical Revolution, and the toxins that impact us all

Carol Grimes

Singer, songwriter, poet & writer of The Singer's Tale

Once. Again.

Une fois. Encore.

Politics and Insights

Public interest issues, policy, equality, human rights, social science, analysis


Hold your verve

El Coleccionista Hipnótico

hypnotist collector

More Crows than Eagles

More Coyotes than Wolves

%d bloggers like this: