I really do despise Christmas. There, I said it. Any criticisms of what is to come that take on a self-congratulatory tone exposing me as a “scrooge” or “party-pooper” are thus neutralised. I already know, and it’s not a secret. When people ask me where my Christmas Spirit is I generally tell them it’s safely hidden in a cupboard at home waiting for a time when I can sit and enjoy it in a decidedly un-festive manner.
Like most people who have given it some thought, I am not religious and I tend to disagree with those who are. My celebrating the birth of The Baby Jesus would be like the Rothschild’s celebrating the birth of Karl Marx. I don’t have children, nor do I particularly like them and so the fact that it’s a magical time of year for the under 12s is also a notion that goes so far over my head it’s a menace to commercial airspace. I can’t abide fairy lights, candles, baubles or party hats and I’m particularly irritated that I can’t switch on the radio because it’s riddled with horrendously naff Christmas songs written by greedy hypocrites after not just a quick buck but one that will generate years of royalties to rival a banker’s pension. A light hearted debate of the kind that asserts “Slade wrote the best ever Christmas Song” is a bit like hailing Xerox for writing the best ever photocopier user’s manual.
In short I endure the festive season as a miserable time of year for which the only saving grace is that as a coach driver I can be reasonably confident of receiving a tidy tip from my punters as long as I’m diligent enough to cackhandedly chuck a bit of tinsel round the windscreen.
But do I begrudge you your Christmas? No, of course not. I merely ask that you restrict any hint of it to the month of December. I’m not too sure when it became acceptable but I can’t remember counting the “sleeps before Santa comes” in the early days of November. If you’re college already looks like Roy Wood’s retirement home, someone (probably a member of some terribly important committee) has got way too excited, way too early. Supermarkets and department stores can’t get the yuletide stock out early enough, to the point where it’s hard to tell if that scented pine cone candle ring jostling for shelf space amongst the barbeque fuel and camping chairs is a recent acquisition or has been accidently left over from the previous year. It’s as almost as if (he cynically ponders) they’re trying to get you to buy all their junk early in the hope that you’ll have some more money later on to splash out on yet more! Is that really what Christmas is about?
As an atheist the disputed origins of Christmas are lost on me and as a scrooge, tight-arse and all round miserable git the extended period of excessive consumption and consumerism is equally baffling. However, as a human being the traditional Christmas narrative of peace on earth, goodwill to all men and the old school babble they print on pound shop Christmas cards, does still ring out qualities I admire. But you don’t need restrict that part of the message to December, November or even late October. If it was celebrated in the true sense of generosity, kindness and harmonious living, I really would wish it could be Christmas every day.
Illustration: Jessie Turner