Until recently, I loved Christmas. It was my favourite time of year. After all, I was born on Christmas Day. Christmas to me meant magic, family, Dandelion and Burdock, presents and more presents, chocolates, snow, TV and days off school. I have lots of memories of good (and not so good) Christmases: the Christmas when Grandma fell out of the car a few days before, the Christmases when my mum had to go to work, the Christmas when I received purple velvet peddle pushers, the Christmas when I was given brown suede pixie boots, the Christmases when I was too excited to eat, the Christmas when I was given a beautiful doll’s house and the Christmas I spent in Japan on the ski slopes with a conifer for a tree.
As an adult, I still love Christmas. I have three children and they love Christmas. We have our Christmas traditions. We always get a real tree. We always get it two weeks before Christmas. The top of our tree is adorned with a sheep (who else remembers the part the sheep played in the Nativity story?). They hang up their stockings above the wood burning stove. They have their own stockings which they’ve had since babies. They love Christmas. I love that they love Christmas.
However, over the last few years I have slowly gone off Christmas. Why? I hear you ask. What is there not to like about Christmas? The answer is: I agree, there is nothing not to like about Christmas. But I also love November. I am also partial to October. But due to the current forcing of Christmas down our throats from mid-September onwards we are not given the chance to appreciate October or, more specifically, November any more. I feel very sorry for November. Nobody loves November. November barely exists anymore. It should be renamed pre-December. It is completely dwarfed by its more colourful and sparkly neighbour. December lasts for 10 weeks. Christmas is everywhere throughout November. Christmas starts in September, creeps under the door in October and explodes through it in November. Now in mid-November, a coffee cannot be consumed without the sound of Dean Martin crooning about his lovely warm fire. You fancy as latte in October? Have it with cinnamon. Need to shop for a birthday card eight weeks before Christmas? Good luck with that, the birthday cards will have been shoved to the shadowy cob-webbed corners of the card shop to make room for CHRISTMAS.
There may be people reading this who think I am just being a moany old Christmas Grinch. I am definitely being moany. But I’m not a Christmas Grinch.I love the magic of Christmas. I love the music, the time to rest, the family, the fun of presents. But I’m now getting quite scared that the excitement is being drained out of me. Christmas is just a slightly more important Sunday dinner if you strip it to the bare bones. It’s not really that special unless you are a Christian. Christmas (or the time of mid-winter) is such a wondrous and historic celebration borne out of many different beliefs . It shouldn’t be such a all-consuming shiny, money-heavy cloud that blinds us to the joy of this time of year: early and mid-winter.
I already feel over-satiated by glitter, box sets, the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, cinnamon coffee, bins of sellotape by the till, mountains of Celebrations, ‘the smell of pine trees’ scent, trees outside Asda, tinsel, baubles, lights, red, green, white, flashing, flickering, chocolates, cheese, mince pies, turkey baps, Christmas soup and gingerbread biscuits. And it is still only mid-November.
Please, world, slow down. Stop looking forward all the time. Pause. Enjoy the moment. Don’t wish the years away. I don’t want to end up as a bitter, sad old lady in the corner. I don’t want to be the one rolling her eyes, while sat looking out to sea, at the sight of the first Christmas tree in July.