I fucking love Christmas. Love. It.
A couple of years ago, I was telling a colleague of mine how excited I was about the approaching festive season and to my everlasting dismay, shame and fury, she told me she was surprised that I liked Christmas. Apparently I come across to people as just the miserable sort of shit that will have a downer on this joyous time of year.
There is a lot to love about Christmas. You have the biggest and best meal of the year to look forward to. There is the prospect of reverting to a childlike state for a few days, while your mother rushes around after your every whim and wishes she’d encouraged you to move abroad. There is the Christmas edition of the Radio Times to look through with a felt tip pen, placing an asterisk next to each program and film you plan to watch. Santa Claus The Movie, starring Dudley Moore, will probably be on at some point. Magical.
Still, in the same way that every cloud has a silver lining; so every silver lining comes with a label saying “Made in China.”
Not everything about Christmas fills me with joy. The below is a list of things about Christmas that bring out The Grinch in me:
1. Christmas Specials
This time of year, more than any other, the BBC tries and fails to make me give a single solitary fuck about Dr Who. The Beeb is absurdly proud of this shit heap, so it will be advertised at every opportunity and will be discussed regularly on non-Dr Who related programs until I wish I was dead.
It’s not just Dr Who though. It’s everything. The Royle Family will probably get another special this year, and we’ll all sit and watch it and discuss how it really isn’t as good as it used to be. Catherine Tate will doubtless be involved at some point; being given another opportunity to demonstrate her remarkable ability to get her television programs commissioned time and again, despite the fact that they are uniformly dreadful and are ALL THE FUCKING SAME!!
Only Fools and Horses. I love Only Fools and Horses. But if I have to sit through another disappointing Christmas special, while David Jason blinks a Morse code message spelling out “Somebody protect my legacy!” I swear I will refuse to pay next year’s license fee.
2. Making things a bit “Naughty”
I love cookery shows. It’s like food porn. I’ll sit down to Jamie’s Posh Mockney Christmas and love every minute of it. Almost every minute.
One thing that drives me into a rage about Christmas cooking is the assumption that everyone wants to have their usual recipes “improved” by the addition of booze. I know Christmas is traditionally a time where people like to indulge in a lot of alcohol, but we’re not all Scottish, thank you very much, so kindly refrain from poisoning my nice chocolate mousse with your God damn whiskey!
I’m tired of watching Nigella Lawson giving a mischievous wink into the camera while she slops Sherry into what was shaping up to be a very promising dessert. “And because it’s Christmas,” she’ll say, “I like to add a large glug of booze, just to make things a bit naughty.” If you know it’s naughty, why do you fucking do it? Get that booze out of my food!
3. We have to meet up before Christmas!
Why? Are you emigrating? No, you are not.
I try to avoid friendships with overly-sentimental types, but you can usually guarantee that at least one will slip through the net and try to force me out for drinks in the week leading up to Christmas, as if the world is going to end on the 25th December. I like my friends and I enjoy meeting up with them for drinks, laughs and fun times. What I don’t like is packing myself into an overcrowded bar with a bunch of coked up City boys with obnoxiously loud laughs and a predilection for strip clubs and prostitutes.
At the time of writing (12th of December) I have plans to meet a friend in the evening to watch the football and enjoy a couple of beers. This time next week you would have to drag me kicking and screaming into the pub we’re meeting in. The pub will still be there in January, and it will be far less arduous to go there then.
4. Going back to work
Fuck going back to work after Christmas. Fuck it. This is the absolute worst time of the year. I don’t know if there’s any kind of job that I’d be happy to go back to after Christmas. Maybe if I was a professional puppy wrangler I wouldn’t mind it so much, but aside from that I can’t really think of anything.
The trouble with going back to work after Christmas is remembering all the things that I had been putting off until then. Before Christmas my attitude at work is one of “Screw it, it’s almost Christmas! That can wait until January!” Then, I get into work in January and curse myself for being such a lazy, flippant son-of-a-bitch. As I write this, I realise that I should take this knowledge and start to crack on with my work so that I’m well on top of it when January comes around. It’s not going to happen. I repeat; screw it, it’s almost Christmas!
What makes all of this worse is the fact that almost everyone else at work is going through the same thing. You get in on the first day back in January and everyone has a face like a Bassett Hound. This fuels your own bad mood, which is finally topped off by the one person in the office that always seems to be upbeat and positive about the New Year. They’ll greet you cheerily and quiz you about your Christmas, fill you in on the details of their own and then skip away, oblivious of the devastation that they leave behind them.
I can’t wait.
5. Honourable mentions
Not really worthy of a section of their own, here are a few other things that drive me mental about Christmas:
- Enforced family game time
- Overcrowding in shopping centres
- People who say Crimbo, Crimble etc
- The last present under the tree which doesn’t seem to belong to anybody
- Enforced Brussels Sprout eating
- People trying to re-invent Christmas songs (the 70s and 80s cornered the market on Christmas pop songs – give it up and move on!)
- People that moan about Christmas (aaah, see what I did at the end there!)