For every Yin there’s a Yang so for all I love about Christmas there are things that get right on my wick – and there’s a good place to start.
Cinnamon and cloves everywhere; not a candle, Glade plug-in, supermarket or mulled wine can survive without them and I’m one of the few that just loathes the smell – mostly because it’s too strong. There’s nothing wrong with a mild hint but because it’s Christmas everyone over does it in multiples of ten and ends up with everywhere stinking of it until my eyes want to pop out of my head and escape the room. Anyway those aren’t the smells of Christmas anyway – boiled cabbage and neep are closer to the mark, or your auntie wearing too much perfume that she got as a present are higher up on the odours list I associate with this time of year.
Christmas pudding and Christmas Cake are next on my hate list. I’m not a fan of dried fruit anyway, why would I want to eat something that had all the lovely sweet juice evaporate from it to leave a horrible chewy skin? What’s even worse is that you then put that in a cake – a cake for goodness sake! It’s heresy of the highest order. Then to add to the misery the evil foodstuff that is marzipan is allowed out of the storage cupboard to go on all cakes at this time of year. If I wanted to eat solid wallpaper paste I would have ordered it so stop sneaking it onto cakes at this time of year please.
Stupid people are at a premium at the moment too – especially in the Supermarkets. Watching families trawl round each aisle with three trolleys between them makes me wonder if they’ve eaten all year or have actually invited the five thousand for lunch but Jesus isn’t available, well it is his birthday he’s probably got plans. The mass hysteria in the car parks causing people to abandon their cars across two spaces and run for the trolleys before putting seventeen of everything in them. Most of all bread and milk. As far as I am aware most of the shops open again on Boxing Day so that 24 pints of semi skimmed they’ve bought must be for a Cleopatra re-enactment society bash. There are fights over pigs in blankets, goose fat and double cream – if ever there was a summing up of the phrase “First world problems” there it is.
Then I loathe the hypocrites. You know the ones I’m talking about, those who go to the church on Christmas Eve just to feel “Christmassy” as some kind of guilt eliminator for all the overindulgence they are about to commit. Yes the churches probably love it because after a few sherbets the collection plate gets a welcome boost, but I really hate the two-faced nature of the action. I respect those who go because they always go to church and this is just a continuation of their faith, but the part-time prayerists are only there because a) they’ve been told to, b) they feel guilty that they should go, or c) their pissed and stumble in as much by accident than design. It’s not fair to the regulars and devalues the whole experience.
Speaking of which my penultimate offering is those who moan about us not being able to use the word “Christmas” anymore because the other religions stop us – no they don’t in the same way we don’t stop other faiths using the words “Diwali” or “Hanukkah”. This is a white middle-class myth that is supported by rags like the Daily Ma*l. Whether Jewish or Muslim, Atheist or Buddhist everyone will do their own thing and in the same way as some white British families have started to enjoy the celebrations of other festivals the same is happening to those who come from different backgrounds as they celebrate Christmas in their own way. This is a good thing and nobody is causing trouble here except the right-wing Christians behaving in a very unchristian way.
Finally the obvious one, but in many ways the most important one – money. This is not a celebration of money, commercialism or extravagance and I’m the first to admit we spoil our kids the same as everyone does, but we shouldn’t. We’re not actually making them better people because we get to a stage where they think that what they want, they automatically get and too often are ungrateful for what they receive. As I say we are guilty of this so I’m not sitting smugly pointing at others, we all need to stop and consider the issues we are in financially as a country and how we got there. While it’s easy to blame the bankers personal debt is still increasing and Christmas will push those boundaries further and for what? An extra toy or bike or treat that they really don’t need?
With all these things there’s a point where you just have to say – especially when it involves raisins.