So it’s the first of December, and Starbucks have officially deemed it Christmas, so therefore it is. Around late November, when Twiggy’s face starts cropping up on TV an alarming amount, I get that lurching feeling in the pit of my stomach of being completely and utterly torn. On the one hand, I bloody love Reindeer jumpers and the unprecedented use of spices in everything, being able to have brandy cream at every meal by saying you’ll save on heating with an extra layer of fat and getting drunk at previously socially unacceptable hours through the use of the word merry. What’s not to love about a season in which pudding becomes alcoholic (christmas pudding, brandy snaps) and alcohol becomes pudding (mulled wine, eggnog). A season in which we buy lavish gifts for other people and Sainsburys Basics Baked Beans for ourselves, where we wear lingerie so bloody impractical you might as well use a colander as a bra. On the other hand, I don’t know if I actually enjoy Christmas time. I’m almost 21. I should know how I feel about it – so, why, every year do I find myself on the 25th of December, a mince pie in one hand, kosher chicken in the other, Christmas cheer in my heart and cynicism on my lips? It’s because I’m fucking confused.
But, of course, confusion would characterize Christmas for me. As a devout Jew (that sounds wrong) and a Chanukah-lover (despite the year my mum got my mum a pencil case for the first night and 7 pencils for the next…) it’s something I’ve always looked from a distance, which I can always peer in on, but never quite experience first hand. It’s a bit like looking at a postcard of the Maldives when you’ve only ever been to the Costa Del Sol. And, of course, as is our natural response to something we don’t understand, we pick holes in it, we become sarcastic and jaded: I’ll rant about how Christmas places such a premium of materialism and consumerism, about how false and dated Christmas adverts are (token mixed race person, check, token blonde child, check) and that how irritating it is that people are so full of that goodwill and seasons greetings bullshit when they spend the rest of the year taking your seat on the tube and eating cheese and onion crisps in public. In short, Scrooge ain’t got nothing on me.
But do I think there is something innately confusing about Christmas. Because, well, it’s got so little to do with religion or Jesus anymore, it might as well be called Purchasemas. If we look at the laws that have been passed year to year, from silencing carol singers to enforcing the phrase ‘seasons greetings’ over ‘merry Christmas’, it has become an increasingly secular, politically-correct and self-aware time. I don’t mind a bit of secular celebration but then what’s it all worth? That said, what’s anything worth anymore? Halloween is a chance to get slutty, Thanksgiving to dress up in a turkey costume, Easter to eat chocolate and Bonfire night to break your teeth on sickly apples. In fact, holidays are daft. And that’s why we love them so much – because we Brits are nothing if not completely daft. So that’s why I propose we forget all the religious bullshit and celebrate what we try have in front of us: family, friends and a license to mull. It doesn’t matter that I don’t quite get Christmas, or you’re never really sure how many nights Chanukah goes on for, the idea behind them in the same – people coming together, to get a bit pissed and forget all the bleakness that the Daily Mail throws down our throats day in, day out. Merry Christmukah one and all!
(p.s. hands off my brandy cream)