Ah Christmas! Season of over-crowded dining rooms bursting with low level resentment. What is it about Christmas that we all feel we have to congregate in a critical mass and irritate the bejesus out of each other? Even the TV endorses it. If life was a Lidl ad, you’d think having twenty seven smug faces round the table pontificating on the price of a prawn ring was de rigueur. Far from being wrapped in the saccharine arms of a supermarket commercial, my festive fantasies are far more high-end and rather less populated with annoying people.
In this glittering world, there is no Slade assaulting my ears as I crowbar myself into a sweltering shop, the onset of other people’s flu shuddering through my bones. Here there is only the gentle tinkling of sleigh bells and the cold, dry whoosh of air as I set off to another masked ball. On my alternative festive planet, I’m wrapped in ermine like a Romanov princess, gliding gracefully around a twinkling ice rink. I’m climbing into a horse drawn troika and dashing off through the snow, sipping mulled cider from a silver goblet with someone who looks and sings a bit like Hugh Jackman. Then of course there’s the three days of feasting, the ice palace, that cheeky not-so-little diamond winking at the bottom of my stocking…..too over-indulgent? But isn’t that what Christmas is all about?
Well, no not really. If like me, you’re a merry and practical pagan, you’ll see it as a Festival of Light designed to brighten up the Winter Solstice. You get to fatten up on the fruits of the year and take stock of where you’ve been. It’s certainly a time to do nice things for others, but if you do find yourself spending Christmas Day alone watching The Chaser with your thumb in a bottle of Baileys, this is perfectly acceptable. I would advise you invigorate this scenario with more stylish accoutrements (It’s a Wonderful Life and a bottle of Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque as a little suggestion) but Christmas is what you make of it and if you’re a grown up unshackled by domesticity, you can make it exactly how you like. This freedom is something worthy of celebration.
If you’re depressed and lonely though, it’s hard to be upbeat when you’re attacked on all sides by images of togetherness and faaairmily. Christmas becomes a trial; something you just have to get through because you’re staring into the snow globe of someone else’s seemingly perfect life and finding yourself wanting. Only nobody’s life is perfect. If you’re lucky you may even experience some perfect moments, but once these too have passed, you’ll still wake up feeling bilious with your face in a bowl of pretzels. This is probably the best analogy of Christmas I can come up with.
Because if this really is the most wonderful time of the year, how come so many Brits are being peeled off the paving slabs by overworked paramedics up and down the country? How come our fellow citizens are so desperate to blot out the fresh hell of Chrimbo, they find themselves nine parts Jagermeister by half past eight? According to official statistics, this weekend will see us collectively reaching Peak Pissed and this only proves my point. Nobody loves Christmas. Only Michael Bublé, who frankly should take it up the aisle and make an honest woman of it.
People have often said that Christmas has more meaning when you have children and I’ve no doubt that this is true. However, when you are the proud owner of your very own Casa High Heels, it’s also quite exciting. Whatever you’re doing this year, whomever you’re doing it with – whether it’s a cast of thousands or with your own fabulous self – Merry Christmas!