It’s been quite a while since I wrote anything in my blog but it would appear that a couple of people (and I mean literally only a couple) have missed my whinging so always ready to oblige, I thought I would start writing a bit again.
Where to start after so much time apart…well, it’s Christmas so why not start there? First off, let me state for the record that I actually do love Christmas – mostly. I’m sure I’ve written about some of this before – I am nothing if not consistent in my whinging. However, here goes – my top Christmas gripes.
- Visiting Santa’s Grotto: am I the only one who goes in “to see Santa” (with my children I might add before you think that I have made some sort of weird regression to childhood) and finds it the most excruciatingly awkward few minutes? Poor Santa has to have the same banal conversation with each and every child about their behaviour this year (why bother asking – it seems patently obvious that the majority of children if presents were given on the basis of behaviour would receive nada) and what they want for Christmas. In my experience, children seem to go mute at this point, either staring rather unnervingly at Santa (trying to guess who it is beneath that facial hair that is slowly sliding down his chin) or looking downwards and scuffing their shoes through the mountains of fake snow on the floor (#nightmarecleaningupjob). It is left to me to have this insanely cheery chat with the big man about how wonderfully behaved my kids have been and how much they deserve wildly over-expensive tat for Christmas (all the time keeping my fingers crossed behind my back to counter the blatant lies I am telling). Meanwhile the real reason we are all there is delayed interminably – the presents, Santa – hand them over and we can all move on.
- Sexy santa outfits: I just don’t get these at all – it seems so wrong on so many levels. Santa is traditionally a man, so why do all sexy santa outfits consist of skin tight mini skirts clearly more suited to the female form? Presumably because there is no woman alive who in her right mind would find a man dressed in a red jumpsuit, trimmed with white cotton wool and topped off with a faux white beard even remotely sexy. Anyway, Santa is a kid-friendly concept so sexy santa suits just seem plain wrong. Sexualising Santa is at best confusing, at worst rather creepy.
- Hats in crackers: OK, I am prepared to accept the part that crackers play in Christmas – I mean who doesn’t desperately want one of those little screwdriver sets or irritating puzzles with rings you have to separate? Let’s face it, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without an exchange of appalling jokes and general dissing of those whose job it is to write those jokes for the other 364 days of the year. But the hats… no need, no purpose, don’t fit and no-one looks good in them. Yet everyone feels obliged whether it be the school parents dinner, the office party or whatever to put their ill-fitting paper hats on their heads as if somehow this is a sign to others that they are having a great time and “entering into the spirit”. Let’s ditch the hats, people – no-one wants to wear them, end of.
- Fairy lights: I love fairy lights. Well, I love fairy lights of the mostly white variety but I am able to tolerate coloured lights. However it seems that every year the nation’s obsession with fairy lights is growing inexorably. When I was young, we put lights on the tree – the end. Now, we are expected to put lights absolutely everywhere – up impossible-to-climb trees, intricately wound around staircases, in windows, round doors, along fireplaces, even in big glass vases (some sort of temporary pseudo-art installation). It is as if we are all in some sort of mad competition to put up as many million lights as we humanly can in the time available, starting in mid-November if that is the only way to beat our neighbours and friends. What puzzles me is why we have suddenly gone fairy light-tastic – it’s not as if electricity/light is a new concept. Am I missing something?
- Writing Christmas cards: every year I promise myself that this is the last year I write Christmas cards – not only does it give me repetitive strain injury in my right hand for the rest of the festive season but increasingly in the age of email and multimedia it seems a fairly pointless task. Then it happens…the cards start to arrive through the door from other people and the guilt sets in. Then the fear sets in that if you don’t send any cards then you won’t receive any next year yourself. The guilt and fear grows until I find myself sitting down and madly scribbling festive wishes to people I either never see (and quite possibly won’t ever again) or equally people I see almost on a daily basis (for whom a simple “Happy Christmas” would suffice). One year I shall be brave enough to resist the overwhelming urge to write cards – in the meantime, if you haven’t received one from me, then you can assume you are off my Christmas card list or your surname is at the end of the alphabet and I haven’t got there yet (and I have to admit might possibly never get there).
- Endless bloody festive editions of TV shows. I can’t think of one single TV show that is improved by the addition of copious amounts of tinsel (my personal pet hate), wrapped up cardboard boxes to look like presents, TV hosts wearing Christmas jumpers and/or santa hats and nudge,nudge..endless references to “balls’. Why does every show have to have a Christmas edition? You are more likely to find me watching “Homeland” or any other programme where the chance of any reference to Christmas is negligible. All those shows do along with adverts with over-decorated houses, roaring log fires and mountains of food on the table is to make you feel that everyone is having more fun than you (and has more fairy lights than you).
There you go, I feel much better now I’ve got that lot off my chest. Now I’ve shared my grievances, I shall try very hard to look at Christmas through the eyes of my children – remember how magical Christmas was when you were a child? Anyway, I’ve got to go as I’ve got at least six more sets of fairy lights to hang up this evening.