I am doped up on painkillers at the moment, so do forgive any ramblings lost and occasionally run aground in the sea of logic. Celebratory holiday eggnog has nothing on this.
While other bloggers are doing some sort of summation of the anime which aired this year, or perhaps a deconstruction or conscious parody thereof, I have opted not to join in, largely because I am lazy. It should probably come as no surprise that my constant sin against which I battle is that of Sloth, and that bit of irrelevant persiflage should probably fulfil the requisite religious (to make a hollow laughter) quota for this Christmas post.
(Rant excised For Your Convenience.)
So we shall look at how anime celebrates Christmas. This is related to how Japan celebrates Christmas, but seen through a technicolour lens, akin to how Christmas might well be observed by watching television specials. We have the mandatory mention of the Christmas Cake, both in the literal sense of a cake bought and presented on the twenty-fifth, leading to many adventures regarding the delivery of said cake, as well as the metaphor of the twenty-five-year old unmarried woman, which has always struck me as being a little unfair.
Christmas in anime tends to be a romantic occasion more than anything else, although this may be observational bias in action. Being alone during Christmas is seen to be unfortunate, as seen in Lucky Star (even though I actually spent my last two Christmasses doing exactly what Kuroi-sensei does, namely playing MMOGs) and Love Hina's Christmas special. In fact, the theme of romance is strong in anime Christmas specials in general, unlike in Western Christmas (or "holiday") specials which concentrate largely on (or mercilessly satirize) believing in Santa, with varying degrees of commercialization. Witness, for example, Di Gi Charat: Winter Garden, or the one-shot Itsudatte My Santa manga by Ken Akamatsu, which later spawned a two-episode OAV of which the second episode is inexplicably a summer beach episode.
Speaking of Itsudatte My Santa, Santa Claus has a greater chance in anime of appearing as a somewhat attractive female character, even if just in bit parts like Chocotto Sister, where Biker Chick Santa delivers unto the male protagonist a little sister. If nothing else, the viewers get a nice Christmas present in the form of fanservice and the kind of outfit which would certainly not be suitable for high-altitude sleigh-rides, what with windchill and all.
Personally, I have nobody (speaking romantically) to spend my Christmas with, and I am not especially religious, save in the sense shared by proponents of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Invisible Pink Unicorn, the sort which compels people to put "Jedi" under the Religion field, which I have expounded upon before. Like Miyuki from Lucky Star, my childhood belief in Santa Claus was shattered when I innocently researched all that I could about this mysterious being who can manage to deliver presents down chimneys all over the world, even in the absence of chimneys in tropical Singapore. And so I have to come up with something else to believe in during Christmas, which is actually quite easy to do.
As holidays year-round are boiled down to be more or less excuses to party and eat lots of good food (I wholeheartedly approve of this), I've taken Christmas, or the Winter Holidays, or Hogswatch, or whatever you want to call this time of the year, as an excuse to be, well, more generous. I could treat myself to a little present, or I could put it off for another year, and give it to a charity instead. At any other time, that little doubting voice would caution me against profligate spending even in a good cause, but now is the tail end of the year, and there's nothing else this year I can spend it on. It's an excuse to give spontaneously to others, and instead of being met with suspicion that I would want something back (save in actual commercial transactions, I never do), there is merely generic gratitude and the understanding that it's Christmas, so of course I have the Spirit Of Giving. The lack of inconvenient questions is reward enough for me.
And it's also an excuse to be nice to people, to complete strangers, to friends, to family. Spend time with your loved ones, and if you're separated by insurmountable distances, give them a call or email, through the MAGIC of global communications. Smile a bit more, even if the holiday itself is leaving you frazzled and stressed; remember why you're doing all this, and forget about trying to impress other people. If anyone gives you a hard time, well, it's the season to give, and you might as well give them your patience and forgiveness. It's amazing how many people's tirades falter in the face of a serene smile, although this may be because of the general creepy factor of such.
I've preached quite a bit in this entry, it seems. Maybe I'll edit it later, maybe not; the post has strayed quite far from my original intent of… whatever my original intent was. In apology, have the attached pictures of vague Christmassy happenings to put you in the festive mood.
Merry Christmas, everyone. Hope you have a good one.