Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Happy ... December

Someone said to me this morning “Happy First Day of Christmas” and, to be honest, it made me want to poke them in the face whilst shouting “BAH HUMBUG!”

Let’s all get one thing straight: it is only the first day of December, the 12th month of the year, not the first day of Christmas. The first day of Christmas is 24th December, aka Christmas Eve.

All these people who put their decorations up at the end of October and start listening to cheesy Christmas music and eating mince pies on 1st November really ruin the whole thing for me and run the risk every year of making me seem like a Grinch.

In my eyes, Christmas begins on 24th December and ends on the 26th; after all, those three days are the only ones in the calendar which are prefixed by any word to do with Christmas – the clue really is in the title.

As a child, our house would be totally bare until Christmas morning when we’d scamper downstairs to be told that, because we had been such wonderful children, Santa had taken a bit of extra time to turn our house into an outpost of his own grotto.

That is what made my childhood Christmases magical – not banging up some tacky decorations at the start of December and drawing out the festive season as long as is humanly possible, ending up on Christmas Day with a manky brown tree that died weeks before the actual day because it had been sat in your living room since November.

I’m not a Grinch; I do love Christmas, but only in its proper place – at the end of December. I love watching my nephews open their presents, and keeping the magic alive by convincing them that I heard Santa on the roof. I even love spending time with my family playing board games and eating chocs.

What I don’t love is walking into my local supermarket at the end of August to see them beginning to roll out their Christmas wares. I understand in this financial climate that people have to save and stock up throughout the year in order to survive the festive period financially, but I’m sure people are capable of quietly doing that of their own volition without Asda telling them to.

You might think, given my feelings on keeping Christmas in its proper place, that I’m one of those shoppers who leaves everything to the last minute and I’m pleased to tell you that you’d be wrong. My presents are all bought and wrapped, in a military operation last night which involved only spending half an hour in the shops.

I buy good presents but, with a bit of forward planning and the ability to weave through crowds at the pace of a champion power walker, I get it done in one fell swoop and can now avoid the Christmas madness in the shops where people dither over what to buy Great Aunty Mabel.

The ability to get my shopping out of the way and thus avoid the Christmas crush is the only redeeming quality about living in a country that has gone Christmas bonkers so early. Happy ... Nope, I can’t bring myself to say it yet! Read more by Alice.

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