The Holidays

’Tis the season to be jolly…

Ah, the Christmas break. I enjoy many aspects of the winter holiday, but writing about how mistletoe and wine fill my heart with sunshine and happiness will make the readership collectively vomit, and bore them to death, so instead I shall focus on the negatives. And there are many. ’Tis the season of misery, not joy, as I shall explain. Bah Humbug.

Scott Mills is one of my favourite radio DJs, but he recently drove me into a rage normally only witnessed by the sort of people who claim that they get vertigo from eating rice (honest quote from my godmother this summer). Mills played a Christmas song on the radio in October this year. This heinous crime led to him being tried at The Hague for driving people to panic at an ungodly time. It is a familiar rant, to argue that Christmas themed merchandise and talk always begins way too early, but it is a justifiable one. Selling mince pies and Christmas pudding before December is like Cheryl Cole farting on TV; it’s something no one wants to see, and it’s just sick and wrong.

My second reason for disliking Christmas is a personal one, but one in which I am not alone. I am in the unfortunate position of being born a week before Christmas. I hate having my birthday in December. My birthday parties suck because half my friends are on holiday, and for those that do turn up, we don’t venture outside because it is so cold that people can literally use my nipples as coat-hangers. At least, those are the reasons I’m giving for my tragic birthdays. Furthermore, I am in the horrendous position of being born so close to Christmas that I only get a joint present. I’m not massively materialistic, but it is depressing when your loved ones refuse to acknowledge that your birthday and the Son of God’s are different. I’m arrogant, but not that arrogant.

Another issue with both Christmas and New Year is expectation. For me at least, I’ve got progressively less excited about Christmas as I’ve got older. Will we have a white Christmas? Will they show a film which isn’t the Great Escape on Boxing Day? Will I get a pair of socks as a present from my dad? The answer to the first two questions is almost always no (but we might finally get a white Christmas this year!), but the answer to the last question is depressingly yes. Every. Single. Year. I worry that my father has a fetish for socks. It’s like when England goes to the World Cup; we all hope that this time, maybe this time, England can win, but deep down we have all prepared ourselves for disappointment as we know failure is inevitable. I hope that I won’t get another pair of socks – I hope in vain.

“It’s the thought that counts” is another phrase circulated around Christmas that I find both hilarious and annoying. I dread to hear this phrase uttered by anyone, as you will only hear this phrase if your present was shit. You put in the minimal effort, didn’t know your loved one/friend/dude well enough, and rightly got punished. This phrase belongs in the same category as “nice, sweet and cute” – it sounds positive but the implications are negative. What the expression actually means is “well, thanks for acknowledging that by social convention you had to give me a present, but this half-arsed effort is poor to say the least”. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but you get my point.

Continuing the subject of expectations, New Year’s Eve is always disappointing. In a heated argument with my friend, I told him I never speak in absolutes (I didn’t grasp the irony of this at the time), but I reaffirm that New Years is always disappointing. I haven’t, and I don’t know anyone, that had a New Year that was as good as they expected. You turn up, don’t recognise half the people there, and then feel compelled to get plastered. You then either get too drunk and throw up and/or pass out on a randomer’s lap or a hedge, or don’t get drunk enough and then find everything really awkward, and later fall asleep in a hedge anyway. This experience might be too personal (God, I hate hedges), but it is the pressure of worrying about where I will be and with whom for New Year, that makes me dread, more than look forward to, this occasion, and I don’t think I’m alone in this.

I hope that this article hasn’t disheartened you, however, as there are lots of things about Christmas that I love. Going for an annual family walk to the top of our local hill, but then giving up halfway down the road and going to the pub, is a tradition that I thoroughly enjoy. Christmas and New Year need to be enjoyed in a balance. People who only focus on the positives of the winter holidays are the sort that need to be beaten with both the mistletoe and the wreaths that they hang to add Christmas cheer.

Merry Christmas.

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