I know how it gets around this time of year. It’s been a long term – has it been your day, month or your year? No? well, Christmas is right on our doorstep and ready to solve all of your existential problems with some cheap tinsel and trashy Netflix film. Even though Vanessa Hudgens seems to have sold her soul to Netflix holiday films – playing three titular characters in two years – but the pedigree of films I ‘hate-watch’ levels down as soon as we melt into December. Why? Because we have simply run out of energy to deal with normal reality.
We are ready for home-cooked meals, Christmas shopping and santa hats in the office.
Even though we say we hate the stress of it all, that’s just an excuse to make conversation with strangers about something other than the weather. The small talk has migrated thematically to talk of Christmas plans and stocking fillers and honestly, it was time. I couldn’t squeeze more than two more conversations out about the fact that yes, it is in fact still raining. And no, it does not look like it’s going to let up, Clive, stop telling me that!
It helps that I’m one of those people that simply loves shopping and particularly Christmas shopping. Once you start – and this has been scientifically proven – you cannot stop. You buy presents for one person, and insist that you won’t go crazy this year – and lo, three hours and eight bags later (each more cringily decorated than the last) – we end up needing an advance on next week’s rent. Whoops? But that feeling when you’ve found the perfect present for your favourite person?
Bottle that and sell it to the masses, because it is just the best.
I genuinely get so excited about getting to see their faces open the presents that I forget I’m also getting a present in return! That in itself is always fun and interesting – particularly when you get a handwritten card in this age of digital conversation – and you can see how the person who means the most to you perceives you and what you might need. Or if they’ve got all of your ‘subtle’ hints throughout the year that you need a new duvet cover. 3 ply. Most of the time they smash it out of the park, but it’s these situations where truly it’s the thought that counts. That people thought of you when shopping and dedicated their time, money and thought into getting you a thoughtful gift. The gold standard is if they cry. But also that a little emotionally masochistic and awkward. Oh well, whatever floats your boat.
Then all the Christmas specials come on TV and you realise just how much trash you used to watch – and would willingly watch until the end of time. Next up is the MTV music channel where they countdown the best Christmas songs and there’s always a few pop covers that make you want to die before Last Christmas inevitably wins. If it ever doesn’t it might be the straw that finally breaks the camels back. It’s voted for by the public though. A dodgy public vote sounds familiar, somehow?
No article about Christmas would be complete without the discourse of the food. We know every year that we over eat. Still, we vow every year to not make the same mistakes as last time. We make, like last year, the same. Effing. Mistakes.
Oh well. If it’s a day where we can eat mashed potatoes, sausages, turkey, roast potatoes, stuffing and Yorkshire puddings (the best food, don’t @ me) – what are we mere mortals to do? Eat. That’s what. Even parsnips and leeks become delicacies in Christmas time. Somehow I fear that I won’t eat enough and make sure I fill up on veg. It doesn’t stop me consuming my body weight in food mere minutes later, but oh well.
Then comes the period between Christmas and New Year that inexplicably lasts longer than the Victorian era and the guitar rift in the Eagles’ song, Hotel California.
Empires are built and raized in that time, but it doesn’t in any way prompt me to be productive or to do things that need doing.
Nope, we just sit there and languish and watch the quality streets diminish by the day. We start awash with galaxy and mars but inevitably decline to the nonsense of bounty and empty wrappers. Thus commences the arguments about which dirty, greedy, lying so and so ate the last malteser.
You exit the room and try not to look too guilty under the guise of walking the dog. Speaking of walks, apparently every family must go on a walk on boxing day and bring any dog they can find. Everyone has to be wearing scarves at least the size of a small bedspread, and istagram the family while they’re at it. Otherwise it didn’t happen. Every year we presume we’ll have no time for social media and go on a cleanse. But turkeys take a long time to cook and relatives have this propensity for being difficult and deeply problematic, so on to instagram search you go. Whoops pt.2.
No regrets. Lots of festivities.
Lots of having fun despite yourself and remembering why your family frustrates you so much but how much you love them anyway.
Yes, your sister will rage about who normally puts the star on top of the tree and give the soldiers of World War 2 a run for their money before she remembers that, in fact, she cannot – and never has been able to – reach the top of the tree!