Most people think of the Christmas period as a festive time where they can roast their chestnuts on the open fire and lament with friends that they haven’t seen since the last time the Son of God celebrated a birthday.
I am not one of these people. I went into Sainsbury’s in September this year and backed out in horror; the aisle that had only yesterday had BBQ goods now was stuffed with advent calendars and selection boxes and all the things that make the inner fatty in me do a little victory dance. Hell. Has consumerism gone that mental that we need to start the slippery slope to Christmas day nearly three entire months early? This is a bad sign. The advent calendars and such bring on a cantankerous mood in me as they mean that it will start to be dark all the time, and I hate the dark and cold. Especially when it’s raining, which you may have heard happens from now and again in the UK. Ahem.
Suuure, I can get festive with the rest of them. I have a pair of Rocking Robin PJs that I insisted on wearing for some of December and January last year, and I don’t mind pulling a cracker and wearing a Christmas hat. My sister will tell you of the legendary Christmas when I managed to eat three entire Christmas dinners (who said thirds wasn’t OK?) and about an hour later started tucking into the stollen and mince pies. I have been accused of having hollow legs, and those bad boys teamed with some super stretchy leggings meant that I was the clear winner of the Christmas eating competition (there isn’t an actual eating competition, I just pit myself off against my Dad. If I manage to eat more than him, I am the clear victor).
But I really don’t like the whole convoluted rigmarole that leads up to the festive period. I think it harps back to the days of working on a beauty counter and having men come in in a panic to buy their loved one a present; startled men who understand that they need to get something, but have not thought any further. They didn’t have a clue where to start, and to save them from the prospect of a frosty Christmas day when their significant other opened a massive pot of cellulite cream and a hoover, we worked our magic. We wrapped and cellophaned and curled little bits of ribbon like elves prepping for the sleigh loading. We even offered a service where we would bash it up a bit if required so that they man looked like he had wrapped it himself. The thought of going into a department store now fills me with horror, mainly because they play the same three Christmas songs on a loop for six entire weeks. I still can’t listen to Kylie’s version of Santa Baby without wanting to go and throw myself down the nearest escalator as a matter of urgency.
But what I do like about this time of year is Bonfire Night and the turning of the lights on the High Street. I love the former with all the joy that the rest of you like Christmas; I love the chilly frost in the air and the wrapping up warm to trek down to the nearest field and eat a hotdog, while watching loads of massive bangs and cracks and booms. I will insist that we go regardless of rain or pestilence, and everyone will enjoy it. Rides on the horrifically unsafe fairground are optional. This is what it’s all about. Celebrating the survival of the King by burning a man on a bonfire.
The latter fills me with joy, mainly as it is a tradition amongst me and the girls. Wherever we are, we all gather back on that Thursday to huddle on the little high street and watch some Z list celebrity flick a light switch, causing the electric to rush into the twinkly little light bulbs and the streets be illuminated with the half-hearted glow of lights that haven’t been changed for twenty years. It’s not like Oxford Street where you gather to see what fantastic light show they will offer this year, oh no, we recycle down here thank you! But after that we might pop into the shops and buy a few bits, before deeming it all too much and heading to the nearest pub for the first mulled wine of the year. Bliss. And I don’t even like mulled wine!
What is your favourite holiday/occasion?