September 16th – that’s the date I gave across the first RL Christmas-themed items in a shop this year. Call me an old Scrooge, but that is to my mind, far too early to be thinking about the festive season.
I know there are some of you who start your Christmas shopping in the January sales, and by April you’ve ticked off everybody on your gift list, written all your cards, and have probably sorted out the seating arrangements and menu for the big day, but I never have been, nor ever will be anywhere near that organised, (thank goodness!)
Who buys Christmas stuff in September anyway? The aforementioned early birds will already be prepared, and the rest of us have no intention of even beginning shopping until we realise, panic-stricken that we have only one payday to go! Either there are a whole bunch of people who have a compulsive need to stock up on tinsel the moment they see it on the shelves, or it’s just going to sit there, displacing things we really need to buy to the dark corners of the storeroom.
This is something I feel that RL needs to get a grip on, and I think it could learn some useful lessons from how we do things in SL, where our approach to holidays, feast days and celebrations is – in my opinion – spot on.
To begin with, inworld we celebrate everything. There can’t be a religious, secular, alternative or otherwise, celebration that we don’t make a fuss about – everything from Christmas and Kwanzaa to Halloween and Burning Man. We also manage to stick pretty much to the appropriate calendar, with so many things going on, we have to really, otherwise we’d be in a right mess. We do like to make a bit of a fuss about them too, with hunts, games and events to organise and participate in, and sims to decorate and explore – we simply couldn’t fit it all in and enjoy it all if everything clashed or was so confusing we had no idea what exactly we were supposed to be celebrating at any one time!
The way that things happen inworld means that we focus on one thing at a time, enjoying the fun and games within a fixed time frame and with a clear delineation between the end of one theme and the beginning of the next. It gives you the opportunity to max out on the fun without getting bored before the next change of focus comes along. It also means that nothing starts months before it needs to either – you don’t have weeks of pestering before the big event like we do in RL, and you’re not thoroughly fed up with the whole thing even before it happens. I can’t help but think that it’s a much better way of doing things, and a model that we ideally should be following in the real world.
Unfortunately, I can’t ever see that happening, for the simple reason that festivals and celebrations in the real world are massive money-making occasions. That’s why Christmas starts in September and Easter begins in January, it’s all extra time to rake in the profits, and even though we all know it, we play along. Now, I’m not denying that there’s a huge financial side to the SL versions too, but at least it’s for a brief, and appropriate period of time – and there’s a lot to be said for that, if you ask me.
So I’m looking forward to Christmas – inworld – but before that, there’s a whole host of other festivals that will take place, and I’m looking forward to each and every one of those too, happy in the knowledge that I’ll be able to enjoy each of them to its full, without being pestered about something that won’t be occurring for another three months!
In the meantime, in RL, Happy Christmas, and while I’m at our, have an enjoyable Easter and summer break too!
Then Santa’s elves all laughed at Joel
“You’re in for a surprise
You’re not a special Christmas gift
You’re just a booby prize
The Killers – Joel The Lump Of Coal