Christmas and Children’s Literature

This week’s blog is brought to you by Sarah Hardstaff, one of our first-year PhD candidates.

It is with some trepidation that I approach the idea of a festive-themed blog, full of joy and goodwill and so on. After all, I am a product of the nation that brought the world Ebenezer Scrooge, Stop the Cavalry and Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas.


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I wish I’d revised my lit review before Christmas.

 

So, I’m not entirely sure what to do here.  A good moral sermon might do it, in the grand tradition of Christmas-related children’s literature. Something so confused it doesn’t know whether it’s a glorious celebration or downright condemnation of Christmas consumerism. That sounds about right. 


In that spirit then, here are ten very important lessons about Christmas from popular culture (spoilers throughout):

1. Your child will never be emotionally whole unless you buy all their toys in duplicate.

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My penguin is lonely. You must buy another penguin immediately.

 

2. Buying chocolate is the same thing as achieving world peace.

 
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The war would never have happened if we’d all just shopped at Sainsbury’s.
 
3. When buying your potential mistress a gift, make sure it’s not the same shape as your wife’s gift.
 
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I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death… gift-giving? No, I can’t teach you that. I’m just not very good at it. Sorry.

 

4. Basically, it’s fine to be rich as long as you buy loads of stuff.

 
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That’s nice of you Sir. But we are literally about to have dinner. I’ve been cooking all day. I know you think you’re being helpful. But you’re really not.
5. Letting people know that it’s Christmas is really important.
 
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Bean Bunny - Turkey Fetcher
Like, really important. If only people knew, the world would be a better place. What’s especially interesting is that for Dickens, it was really important to let rich people know it’s Christmas, and 150 years later, it’s apparently really important to let poor people know it’s Christmas. It’s an interesting shift in responsibility. Either way, the important take-home message is: if you spend some money, you’ll feel really, really good about it (see also all of the above).
 
6. But you can’t buy too much stuff, or Santa will end up looking like this:
 
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This guy has obviously been spending too much time producing Family Guy merchandise. Or possibly Band Aid CDs.


7. A handy alternative to buying stuff is wishing for stuff.
 
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Which will work for literally no-one except this one child. Exceptionalism at its most heart-warming.


8. You could also spend your holidays defending the stuff you already have from people who have no stuff.
 
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To be fair, these guys are obviously baddies. They’re not even wearing festive jumpers.


9. Speaking of which, if in doubt, give the gift of warmth.
 
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See? Look how happy they are.
 
10. But it’s important to remember that ultimately, whatever you give or receive, Christmas will end in bitter disappointment…
 
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…at least until the sickening sequel appears…
 
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Oh, a puppy? Thanks. No really, it’s great. It’s just that… now we need another puppy. You know, in case this one gets lonely.


Have a great time everyone!

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