I don’t know about you, but I haven’t felt Christmassy at all in the run up to December 25th this year. I’m no Scrooge, but apart from watching two Christmas films, coincidentally two film adaptations of A Christmas Carol, and being a ‘bit gutted’ when I’d learned my mum had put up the Christmas tree without me, I haven’t felt that twinge of excitement. Perhaps it’s because I’m not religious. Perhaps it’s because I literally didn’t want anything for Christmas this year. Perhaps I’m too old for Christmas joy and cheer. I don’t know what it is but I’ve spoken to several other people about it, young and old and the conclusion was unanimous. 2013 was one of the biggest let downs of hyped Christmas tidings ever.
Christmas cakes and wrapping paper started creeping into supermarkets by the end of August, shops such as TK Maxx were already half way through their Christmas sales by November, TV has just been engulfed by reality TV, and 7million weeks of The X Factor and the weather, well, I don’t even want to talk about that. All of these disappointments did get me wondering however, how there could ever be a possibility of injecting some Christmas cheer into the nation again. This year, I finished working on 23rd December. By the time I’d finished dropping particular presents off at various destinations, sticking all the Christmas cards to the window and generally FREAKING OUT, it was like 6pm on Christmas Eve. Cue a meal out with the family, awkward TV conversations and sleep at 10.30pm, it was all of a sudden Christmas day. Despite being awake from 5am (a result of excessive sleep deprivation the night prior and I assure you, not excitement of Mr Claus’s arrival) I wasn’t surprised to see that it was already dark outside by 3.30pm and until the cheese and biscuits come out later, you do nothing but wait around on Christmas day. Maybe it’s because my family is miniscule, or perhaps I am more bah humbug than I want to be, but one thing is true, Christmas just didn’t FEEL like Christmas this year.
Bring back finishing work at least 2 days before Christmas and not going back between Christmas and New Year. Close the shops for more than 24 hours. Let the boxing day sales actually start on Boxing Day and continue into the January sales rather than begin on Christmas Eve at 8am. As a fast forwarded, ruthless and selfish society of today, we ruin Christmas for ourselves by not letting it play out its own course. It’s all rushed, it’s all thrown in your face from mid September. We have fed on Christmas and decline into tinsel comas by mid November. The commercialism and greed has shrouded the focus on family. No one seems to get a deserved break anymore, nothing seems to be able to wait. Everyone is apprehensive about returning to work, before they’ve clocked out for the festivities. People race to Boxing day sales, some stores (cough Next, cough) even begin the sales at 5am.
I found this comment on a Telegraph Article titled ‘Has Christmas been ruined?‘ dating back to 2006, a whole 7 years prior to this continued debate. Though I believe this comment comes from a view through rose tinted spectacles (as all good memories are), the basis of the feeling that everyone knows about Christmas, but no one can describe, stays the same:
“When I was a little child, Christmas Day was a day of wonder and delight. We had very little. Our presents were meagre and it was the only day that our family ever saw chicken, let alone ate it. But the fire burned bright and cheerful in the hearth, and it was just possible, if you really looked hard, to see Father Christmas flying across the sky to bring the presents of small, cheap toys, a precious orange, a bar of chocolate made to look like a snow man, and that piece of coal, right in the foot of Dad’s socks, which were our Christmas stockings. Our Christmas tree was a branch from the fir tree in the garden, decorated with paper chains we made ourselves. Wrapping paper was carefully folded and kept for re-use from year to year. None of this because my family was mean, but because it was Wartime and my family, like so many, was poor. On Christmas Eve we went to Church for the magical Carol Service telling the ancient story of the Nativity in song, and on Christmas Day we went to Matins, to return to the gorgeous cooking smells of that precious chicken. Has Christmas been ruined? Without any doubt.” – Tess Nash, 2006.
If I’m completely honest, I’m just waiting for January to begin so as a nation we can embark on our diets, and exercise, annihilation of bad habits and binge drinking until Christmas and New Year cheer is all but a distant memory come February 1st.