This time of the year in particular is so consuming; consuming of our time, our money and often our patience as well as we scramble toward Christmas, hanging all of our hopes on the day that our holidays begin or that special day when we get to celebrate with our family and friends. We become so fixated on arriving at our destination (which isn't happening for another month yet mind you) that we completely forget to look around and embrace any new opportunities that may be arriving, and we certainly don't make the most out of everyday of the festive season along the way. This happens every year, and I write about it every year because I see it happening to people all around me every year. For some reason we just don't allow ourselves to enjoy things completely in the lead up to Christmas and I am beginning to think that we have all been programmed to do this, and it really has to stop.
Now don't get me wrong, I do really enjoy Christmas, I am not Scrooge for goodness sake! However, I do feel like people lose focus of what is important at this time of the year and hold themselves to ransom, often sacrificing huge amounts of money, time and energy which they invest into just one day of the year. A day that comes and goes without nearly as much fuss required as we feel compelled to throw at it in my opinion. What about the next 30 days leading up to Christmas? Don't we deserve to enjoy the ride, the countdown and the anticipation with a bit of joy as well? Damn straight we do! We totally need to stop and smell the flowers along the way, indulge in the lead up to the day and seize any new opportunities along the way to Christmas day, but often we just don't.
The pressure to deliver a so called 'perfect' Christmas quite frankly has balls on it! The best Christmas's that I have ever had were really quiet events spent with my nearest and dearest in total relaxation. I cannot tell you how much stress I have put myself under for Christmas events in the past, and for what? I've spent hours stressing about whether people would be happy with their gifts or not and then barely received a thank you when the gifts were actually opened. I have spent hours slaving away in the kitchen trying to cook for a tribe of people and then had people only point out what they didn't like about the meal when it was over. I can even recall Christmas' where my own family have made me feel completely unwelcomed at Christmas events, and it honestly made me realise that none of it is worth it.
The build up, the expectation to deliver, the need to perform, blah! Who needs all that? That is the complete opposite of what Christmas is about in my mind, and I think that so many people are getting it all wrong. Why not take some pressure off yourself this year and seize an opportunity to look around at what is really going on. Be honest with yourself, are you really embodying the Christmas spirit or are you just ticking off some stupid 'to do' list that you feel compelled to complete that has nothing to do with love or generosity or kindness, or bloody Christmas spirit for that matter!
Let's get this into perspective. In a nutshell, gifts at Christmas are a bonus, and should never be an expectation unless you are under 10. Kids get to expect Christmas gifts, adults need to be happy with whatever they bloody well get and should not sook or bitch about it because it's petty and it's mean to look any gift horse in the mouth, especially if you have enough money to buy yourself whatever you want anyway, which is often the case with the biggest whiners. Keep gifts small and thoughtful and never let yourself get frazzled when selecting gifts for people, remember that it is the thought that counts and anyone that thinks otherwise is an asshole!
The Christmas food on the day should be special but also simple and it should never be too labour intensive because no-one wants to be chained to the kitchen on Christmas day, it's cruel. And people please, think about your food quantities and don't over do it. Creating days of leftovers is hardly 'good will' toward the planet, it is Christmas dinner, not a 'feed the world' campaign and therefore the amount of food doesn't need to increase. Remember that sometimes less is more, and a delicious simple meal with a couple of special additions always works best in my opinion, so don't freak yourself trying to make a 10 course extravaganza, it's not worth the hassell.
Decorating before Christmas should be a joyous thing to indulge in, something that the whole family can do together which will also take the pressure off one person being responsible for 'doing' the tree and making things festive. Small accents are enough, you don't need to go all 'flashing lights on the house' crazy to feel like you're bringing the Christmas spirit into your home. Effective natural decorations and Christmas accents can be as basic as a few sprigs of evergreen and a couple of pinecones from outside; so damn simple and also free!
So, how are you going to spend your time in the lead up to Christmas this year? Freaking out or chilling out? Seizing and embracing new opportunities or completely oblivious to anything else because you've got your Christmas 'to do' list to perform and come hell or high water you're gonna get it done? Well, essentially the choice is your own, but I know that I'm not gonna sweating the small stuff this year, that's for sure. I'm on the lookout for fun, frivolity and opportunities to enjoy every day leading up Christmas day and every day after that as well!
Release Date: 2018
Rating: MA 15+
Running Time: 133 mins
You can always rely on Joel and Ethan Coen to deliver something fresh, fun and unique and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is certainly no exception. With its striking cinematography, rich characters, gorgeous landscapes and smart, engaging dialogue, this movie delivers on so many levels. After premiering at the 75th Venice International Film festival where it won the Golden Osella Award for Best Screenplay, it was released on Netflix after a limited theatrical run.
In six short stories, each in a different setting and based on the tales of the American Frontier; we are introduced to a bevy of colourful characters and their often 'hard luck' trials. The movie begins with the short tale of Buster Scruggs, the singing cowboy, and from there we are taken on a journey to every corner of the Old West in a series of interesting, amusing and unusual stories that include a crusty old gold prospector, a travelling sideshow, a gunslinger, some native American Indians, a couple of lonely settlers and a group of stagecoach travelers.
The cast is a literal who's who of Hollywood with James Franco, Liam Neeson, Zoe Kazan, Tom Waits, Brendan Gleeson and Tim Blake Nelson taking up significant leads, and everyone is delivering perfectly. This is smart and sophisticated storytelling that shouldn't be missed, especially if you love Westerns as much as I do.
FINAL SAY: Sir, it seems that you're a no better judge of human beings than you are a specimen of one.
4 Chilli Peppers