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Κυριακή, 23 Ιουνίου, 2024
ΑρχικήEnglish EditionThe most "enlightening" time of the year

The most “enlightening” time of the year

By Myrto Katsouli,

Christmas has arrived in town earlier than ever before. In Athens at least, we have been living in a Christmas mood, once the national anniversary of October 28th was almost over and all the Greek flags were taken down, only for them to be immediately replaced by joyful angels, plenty of “Merry Christmas” illuminated signs, and my personal favorite glitter red-green Christmas balls all over the avenues, the streets, and the neighborhoods.

Even the Syntagma Square has been thoroughly decorated to add to the holiness of the overall celebratory situation; the over-the-top Christmas tree, the extravagant lighting, and herds of amateur Santas have taken over the place. Surely, all this somehow reminds us of our pre-COVID-19 life. However, despite the lavishness and the uplifting spirit that Christmas is all about, I am simply wondering, if our general rush to decorate and celebrate for this divine happening masks some underlying issues that affect us as a whole.

Over the past two years, we have indeed been facing the pandemic and its consequences up to every imaginable extent; we have lost the basic human contact, we have become overly suspicious of our own neighbors, and we have been under tremendous stress about the present and the future of our generation at a global scale. Our jobs have been at stake. Our education has lost its value. We cannot participate in society without being scanned, almost like a supermarket product that is “free to go” or “rewarded” by being allowed to go further on in life. There is a movie called Sausage Party, in which the supermarket goodies gain flesh, bone, and consciousness and await to be bought in order to travel to the “Great Beyond”. Humans are deified and praised daily, but the products are unaware that the only reason to be taken off the aisle is to be killed and consumed. Only some of them are returned to the supermarket, and although they speak the truth after having experienced the tragedy of the “Great Beyond”, they are treated with misbelief, considered crazy, and ostracized to be forgotten once and for all.

The early Christmas decoration in Athens. Image source: protothema.gr

Well, although that movie is a far-fetched allegory of modern society, we come to realize that it depicts the human tendency to fabricate a utopian way-out that distracts us from an unpleasant dead-end and many other difficulties we confront daily. Speaking of the pandemic crisis, it is understandable that all this makes the very early Christmas decorations tolerable and justifiable. We need a psychological remedy to alleviate the misery of the situation and, as far as Christmas can provide an efficient, yet temporary joy, we are more than open to receiving a good-will initiative, hence an early decoration, an abundance of Christmas sweets made by the bakeries, and repetitive Christmas playlists played by the radio stations.

There is no doubt that Christmas has been well-commercialized like every other sentimental and spiritual event. It has lost its magic and true meaning and, sadly, this celebration is mostly used as an indirect profiteering, according to each emerging general need. The early decoration of the Athenian streets is a sign that we are begging for a miracle to help us escape our melancholy. We have been preparing for Christmas for over two months and, no matter how beautiful, fulfilling, and carefree this occasion may be, we cannot hide our problems behind a huge red Santa or suppress them in sparkling Christmas presents, simply because they will reappear later on and brutally throw us back to where we were before.

Nevertheless, we can still enjoy the Christmas holiday season and celebrate heartfully with our family and friends. We can find happiness in the simple things we may have taken for granted; a family meal, an overcooked stuffed turkey, or the sound of ripping open a present are irreplaceable and they bring us unforgettable bliss and warmth to our hearts and soul. Let us live the Christmas magic, forget our “mind-eating” concerns for a while. But, be aware that this “pill” of happiness and love is and should only be our refueling to come back stronger than before.


Myrto Katsouli
Myrto Katsouli
Myrto Katsouli, born in 2001, studies Law at NKUA. She’s an aspiring writer-to be and she speaks fluently English and French. She was a judo national champion, but now she has focused more on her studies. She likes traveling, writing and going out in her spare time.