10 reasons to love and hate Christmas
The festival itself I have no quarrel with; good old hijacked midwinter solstice feast that it is. A time of good food, wine and forgiveness to celebrate surviving another year. Good will to all men? Within reason, of course. What turns my normal sunny disposition to that of lemon sucking misanthrope is the insistence that everyone has to join in the ‘fun’; when ‘fun’ entails leaving drunken saliva snail trails over the nearest total stranger. Good grief! If nothing else it’s all so damned unhygienic.
With this in mind I have compiled ten major issues about Christmas which every year threaten to turn Mr Nice Guy (Me) into a raging homicidal psychopath who’s just got his chainsaw out of the shed for a little pre-festive sharpening.
First; Date. The date and the association with Christianity is incorrect. 25th December is the wrong date for Christians to celebrate Christmas. It’s an historical fudge, a compromise between 6th December, 19th December, 22nd December, 7th January or 25th January depending upon which Christian / Pagan sect you belong to. As for the year, if you’re a Christian, about as close as you’ll get is six years either side of 0 AD; and that’s just from official sources.
Second; Presents and shopping. This asinine insistence that you have to drive yourself into near bankruptcy giving overpriced, unwanted gifts to everyone you know. This may sound like heresy and probably is; but I would rather have no gifts at all than a gift without a genuine kind thought behind it. I especially don’t like being dragged in and out of the same five or six stores four times each only to find that we could have bought everything on line.
Third; Enforced jollity. There is no greater torture to a civilised mind than forcing someone to enjoy themselves whether they want to or not. I am quite capable of being happy without outside interference thank you very much. My major dread is that in the near future Mr Blair’s Thought Police will deem it a crime not to be smiling and joyful at mandatory times and places. Perhaps this will be something else to be handed an ‘On the spot’ £60 fixed whizzer from your local Community Support Officer (Or heaven forfend, me.). The sheer horror of it defies all thought.
Fourth; Inappropriate headgear. The wearing of fluorescent antlers, tinsel and artificial fur bobbled conical hats three sizes too small, not to mention those jesters style confections made of poor quality red, yellow and green felt with bells on. Apparently there’s some strange, arcane folk belief that wearing such headgear actually makes everything you say and do amusing. Such as telling unfunny jokes, committing random sexual assaults or urinating in the street. Trust me, it doesn’t work. Strangely enough, recent research has proven conclusively that the majority of people donning such headgear instantly turn into annoying pillocks. Forcing your dog to wear any such item should instantly engender an instant charge of animal cruelty punishable by thirty strokes of the cat (A bad tempered feral Tom cat brought in specially, for preference.).
Fifth; Alcohol. Actually this is a bit of a moot point. I am greatly in favour of some forms of alcohol as it is a great social lubricant (I said SOCIAL. Honestly, some people.). A good pint, bottle of wine, or warming Single Malt in good company is wonderfully relaxing. Sometimes I can be very friendly with an entire bottle of whiskey all to myself. This is something anyone can do anywhere. Sometimes its nice to hide in the cellar with a good book, headphones on and some rock music blasting any potentially festive thoughts from my seasonally stressed synapses. Be warned; excessive consumption not only damages your liver and wallet but also turns you into another slobbering maudlin festive idiot.
Sixth; Office / work related parties. Or as Oscar Wilde might have said had he ever been to one, ‘The unattainable attended by the unlovable’. Watching what you drink in case you say exactly what you feel about your boss or an influential colleague; no matter how incompetent / unpleasant / overbearing they might be. I hate such events and whenever invited to ‘socialise’ in this fashion with workmates make a creative and plausible excuse not to be there. Ones I’ve found that work very well are; Previous engagement with family, as far from the event as possible; feigned illness; faked domestic emergency requiring your urgent presence at home – all of these are good. One cautionary note, use a different excuse every year or be labelled ‘Anti Christmas’ and find all those more important invitations disappear.
Seventh; Christmas lunch. All that hard work put in to produce a table groaning feast to be met by refusal. For example an announcement by your wife’s sister / daughter (insert own preference here) that she’s become a Vegan without telling anyone; then flounces off when you, quite reasonably, refuse to specially cook a nut roast for everyone at five minutes notice because she can’t bear to be within fifty yards of that poor murdered Turkey. Another might be the kids whinging that they want to go to Burger MacWossnames for a “double death by cholesterol and fries”; refusing to eat anything green that hasn’t got four kilo’s of sugar in it. I think Christmas lunches should be all ticket affairs. If you want to be there, be there. If you don’t – sod off and be miserable on your own.
Eighth; Christmas Television. Especially those vomit inducing saccharine Coca Cola adverts. The endless TV repeats of Christmas specials of ‘Only Fools and Horses’, and what’s going on in Emmerdale Enders. ‘The Sound of Music’ again. ‘Celebrity’ Christmas specials. Thank God for DVD’s. Don’t even get me started about Hogmanay specials. All I want from New Years Eve is a hot toddy, an early night and a clear head on a crisp winters morning, enjoying the peace and quiet.
Ninth; Christmas Number Ones. All of them. Especially (In no particular order) Slade’s ‘So here it is Merry Christmas’, Band Aid’s ‘Do they know it’s Christmas time’ and Aled Jones ‘Walking in the air’. When you’ve heard them sung extremely badly four or five hundred times by drunken cracked voices at up to half past four in the morning, you’ll agree all modern Christmas tunes should be banned by international treaty.
Tenth; Carol Singers. Not proper Carol Singers like in church choirs, they’re very pleasant and always welcome. I’m talking about the avaricious little sods who turn up on your doorstep for a quick bit of extortion a month before the official date. I think we’re all familiar with them; expecting you to give them money for an abysmal one chorus rendition of ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas’ when half of them don’t know the words and the other half are miming. Two years ago I handed out some warmed over vegetarian mince pies to the last lot who dared darken my doorstep, and joy of joys, haven’t seen any since.
The above list is nowhere near definitive as I’m sure many of you can come up with your own reasons for wanting to spend your midwinter holiday overseas. The nicest Christmas day I ever spent was alone with my wife in Barcelona. Getting soaked in torrential rain and messing around in near deserted streets like a couple of school kids, no cooking, no turkey, wonderful Irish coffee in a bar where the staff were grooving energetically to Ricky Martins ‘La vida loca’ full blast on the sound system. Ganneting a quarter kilo of ‘Chocolat Naranja’ between us while drying out, watching an unfestive CNN News in the Hotel room. No tinsel, no tackiness and a thoroughly civilised time was had by both of us. Bliss.
Addendum: Have just checked my Statistics counter and found a link from one of the most well known blogs, Waiter Rant. Wow. Hope it’s not a mistake. I am deeply honoured.