At this time of year when some people are still taking late holidays, the last thing you want to think about is Christmas. Retailers, however, don’t see it that way because their view is that Christmas is just around the corner. They’re not being presumptuously festive – they just want your money.
Grudgingly, I have to admit that the shops have been a little slower off the mark this year – by about a week – but things are hotting up now. My local Marks & Spencer has cleared its small furnishing and crockery section and filled it full with festive crap left over from last year’s festive crap. Call me a curmudgeon, but isn’t it all getting a bit stale now? Isn’t doing the same thing year after year after year a bit too 1980’s excessive?
Children, bless them, seem to expect more and more every year. Not so long ago you got what you were given, sitting red-faced and glowing around the hearth gazing at the Christmas stocking hanging from the mantel. The mysterious round-shaped thing at the bottom was always a bloody orange and not, as you thought, a new cricket ball. I’m not bitter, mind.
You didn’t ask or demand; you just enjoyed the day and it all started properly in the correct season. About two weeks before Christmas we would go out and get a tree – a real one with actual pine needles that hide in carpets for months afterwards and shed the remaining load entirely when dragged through the back door on the Twelfth Day – hang the decorations and let the fun commence.
Today it is all about greed – having conspicuously more. The festive season has become a dull tinsel-wrapped rehash of everything that used to be good about Christmas and seasonal spirit. Sure, it is a fun time for kids – until that is some miserablist vicar or stuffed shirt official tells the tearful little kiddies that Santa does not exist. Whatever your views, why on earth would you do that? Around our multi-cultural land some local councils frightened of offending, well, anyone really, will declare a ‘Winterval’ as if that makes everything all right. I hope they get bitten by rabid elves banished from Santa’s grotto.
Meanwhile a certain section of adults will get into the Christmas spirit by getting totally bladdered several times in the run-up and start photocopying their bums or doing something lamentable in the stationary cupboard. For pity’s sake – even if you’re not a believer it is supposed to be a Christian (remember them?) celebration, not your best opportunity to get off with Shaz from accounts.
It’s a never-ending cycle. Every year I think, ‘Strictly Come Dancing? Again? Where did that year go’? Even as I type, television companies will be finalising their ‘Christmas Specials’ all of which were filmed in the blistering heat of Summer and will feature Miranda bleeding Hart or the appallingly smug Paul Hollywood doing something inappropriate with a reindeer. You mark my words. These seasonal shows are always unremittingly terrible without exception. Also, I personally guarantee that a festive episode of Only Fools And Horses will be scattered liberally, like snow, across the channels, because it’s still the best they’ve got.
Now I’m sure you don’t want me to go bleating on about Christmas but I will anyway. Picture this: Jeremy Corbyn wins the next general election by a landslide. Can you imagine? It would be like being governed by Ebenezer Scrooge; thin gruel for all (in a fully inclusive and non-judgemental way obviously) although some might say that is better than the greed-fest we’ll soon subjected to. From here on in I am looking forward to January 1st.
Enough already. It is wrong of me to deny everyone the simple pleasures of Milk of Magnesia. In fact, in my way, I quite enjoy Christmas – as long as it is much nearer the date. Last year I watched my daughter and granddaughter singing Christmas Carols by candlelight and was rather moved. I even had a rather injudicious amount of Famous Grouse and a minced pie. I guess it is the three month build-up that gets on my grumpy wick.
Anyway, wonder what Santa will bring me this year? Hope it’s the new Mazda MX5 or maybe the Audi RS3 that I have most recently had the pleasure of. I have simple tastes. I don’t ask for much.