Christmas: A cynic’s guide

I bloody, bloody, bloody love Christmas. I live for Christmas. I spend all year being excited about Christmas. Wrapping presents, sitting dead-legged on the living room floor is as close to euphoria as I get. If I was a superhero I’d be CHRISTMAS GAL, going around shooting tinsel out of my tits, throwing gingerbread at children and making it my mission to ensure everyone is simply having a wonderful Christmas time. Or else.

I have literally no issue with Christmas decorations going up in September. That just gives me longer to enjoy them. Houses covered in garish lights and decorations are my absolute favourite and I will add twenty minutes to my walk home to view them. I am utterly on board with companies having Christmas branding on everything. Think of my excitement when I found that my regular mature cheddar which I buy every week came in a CHRISTMAS PACKET. Now every toasty is a cheesy shot of festive wonder.

But what with John Lewis now owning the rights to the emotion “Christmas cheer”, companies willing to pimp out World War One to sell cranberry sauce, and your Christmas being worth jack shit unless you’re a huge white family who communicate exclusively in emphatic glances and exist to a backing track of washy Smiths covers, there’s a lot to hate about this time of year. Not to mention the godawful neocolonial shitfest that is Band Aid 30.

But in an age where there’s a Cath Kidston shop on every city high street, and The Great British Bake Off is the televisual event of the year, it’s not actually that cool to hate Christmas any more. It’s the age of kitsch, that slightly ironic but nevertheless good-natured enthusiasm for shit. It’s the time of getting on board with things. But not Band Aid. No one should get on board with Band Aid.

Maybe it comes from a sense of desperation at needing to have something to be cheerful about. Maybe it’s nice to think of good tidings and love in a world where things keep getting meaner. Or maybe it’s actually because of this surge in worryingly misplaced Keep Calm nationalism combined with a desire to own as much stuff as possible to fend off mortality BUT LET’S IGNORE THAT; stick with the love and joy thing.

I’ve never lived in a world where the commercialisation of Christmas hasn’t been the default. In fact, very few of us actually have. It is pretty depressing, and almost every depiction of Christmas, from Love Actually to those scenes you get on biscuit tins, is highly problematic for all kinds of reasons. But it is very possible to separate yourself from that. You can enjoy all the tat and tastelessness from a distance without buying into it. Christmas songs are awful and ubiquitous, but there’s few thrills quite like getting pissed and screaming IT’S CHRISTMAAAAAAAAS in each other’s faces. Take the stuff they’re trying to sell you, take the piss out of it, and have a great time doing it. MERRY CRINGLEMAS.

Jen Pritchard

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