Fucking hell, it gets earlier every year. There ought to be a law. They’re starting the songs and the mince pies in the supermarkets, and it’s October. It’s as if they’re sadists. You know they actually start the adverts in September now… well, the perfume ones anyway. God, there’s another fucking article about how we’re not allowed to call it Christmas anymore, which is bollocks. Look, I’ll say CHRISTMAS really loud, and nobody will complain because everything says CHRISTMAS anyway, and the stuff about school plays is a load of hogwash, they are having a proper Nativity again, let’s just hope there isn’t a fight between parents this time round. And those sodding adverts on the telly! If it’s got a plethora of ways of firing plastic things that will blind you, and it’s delivered through the medium of shouting, it’s for boys. If it’s pink, and has lots of giggling in the adverts and references to hair or clothes or makeup, it’s for girls. Fuck me, really?
Is it Christmas yet? Is it Christmas yet? Is it Christmas yet? Is it Christmas YET? Is it Christmas yet? Is it Christmas yet? How about now? When will it be Christmas? There’s a toy I want! It’s shiny and got buttons and makes noises! It’s a bit like a DS! Liam in my class says his dad invented the DS! I want a DS! Why can’t Christmas be now? Is it Christmas because they’ve put up the tinsel in Tescos? Why are you muttering “Too bloody soon”, Daddy? It’s beginning to be Christmas now! I’ve seen the Christmas adverts on telly! I love Christmas! We’re doing a Christmas play this year in school! We all have to learn carols! I love carols! My favourite is ‘Away in a Manger’, because it’s really cute, and it makes my Mummy and Daddy say “Awwwwww!” whenever I sing it, except I’m told to put a sock in it if I sing it in July. I also like singing ‘Jingle Bells’, especially when Daddy lets me sing the proper words about Batman being smelly! I want a DS! Or maybe an Xbox! Or maybe a Playstation! I want things that explode, not those silly things that are supposed to be for girls. They’re all pink and boring. I want the new Captain America film on DVD. Or The new Ghostbusters. Nothing about hair or clothes or stupid makeup.
I can’t bear to go into town at this time of year. Daylight hours are just crammed with last-minute shoppers. It’s literally Hell. It’s busy, and everyone’s shoving, and my feet hurt, and I don’t know whether I’ll have time to get everyone done, and Aunty Joan isn’t really with it, so we can miss her out, and I’ll have to do cards at the last minute as usual, and I’ll have to buy everything online except there’s another sodding postal strike, and they just know to do it in the last week before Christmas, and they’ll fuck around with everyone, and the bloody TRAFFIC in the roads, and never mind about going into the centre of town at this time of year during the day, what about the fucking night time??
Why are we going shopping? Just tell Santa what you want and he’ll buy it for you! Sparkly lights are very nice, but they’ve been up for aaaaaaages. And why are we shopping AGAIN when we went shopping just the other day? What does ‘last-minute-panic’ mean? Is it the last minute ever? I’m BOOORED of shopping. All we ever do before Christmas is go shopping and get cross.
There are gangs of Rudolph-jumpered, arseholed arseholes marching around singing crude versions of carols and leering at anything in a skirt; and then you’ve got these screeching harpies with tinsel in their deeley-boppers who are staggering around in sub-zero temperatures, and they’re showing as much flesh as a 70s porn-flick, VOMITING into the street , yelling at men, and the men are yelling at the women, and there’s all the swearing, and the aggressive demanding of FUN to be had, and everything costs more, and the pubs are far too full of part-time drinkers who cannot control themselves, and I have to go to the office Christmas party even though I’ll have nothing to say to anyone, and we’ll stand around in the corner of an expensive hotel conference room eating chicken goujons, and drinking too much, and then the disco will start, and I’ll behave like a smart arse and go up to the DJ and ask if he’s got any Captain Beefheart or The Velvet Underground; but by 11pm I’ll be fist-pumping to The Final Countdown, and dancing to Steps and Kylie, doing finger-guns to the Theme from Shaft, and bellowing along to Fairytale of New York with everyone else, and I’ll grab poor Becky in HR and tell her that the party is great, but next year I’ll put a band together for cost, and we’ll do some PROPER MUSIC to show the cunts in the office exactly what proper music is.
Daddy keeps saying he won’t go out again. Not after last year. And then he went out, and came home slightly loud, and that’s not fair, because I’m not allowed to sing silly songs. And now he’s feeling sick. And Mummy is not being nice to him at all. She says it’s all his fault and she has no sympathy. And then Mummy goes out for Christmas Lunch with the office, and she comes back after my bedtime and makes groaning noises.
I don’t want to send out cards. They don’t send us cards, why should we send THEM cards? Oh, all right, I’ll send to them. And them. And them. And… right, I’d better make a list. Do we have a list from last year? And do you have their addresses??
Do I have to send them caaaards? I see them every day!
So… four cards. One from my mother. Bloody social media ruins a perfectly good tradition… it’s only polite… FOUR CARDS… are we really hated that much?
I got 25 cards from all of my friends!! I love my friends!!!
And I’m determined to go out somewhere carol singing. I fucking love carol singing! I miss singing all the Christmas carols like I did when I was young. All the dark carols with the spooky, Midwinter lyrics. I bet there’s a church in the misty countryside nearby that does a candlelit service in the run-up to the big day.
I’m all carolled-out. I’m bored of singing carols. I’ve been singing carols in school for weeks now. Why are we driving for miles through the fog to go to a church? We never go to church normally. Oh, it’s to sing BORING CAROLS.
And God, we have to go through the motions AGAIN. Why can’t we just do Christmas on our own without all those people? They’re nice and all, but thank God we only see them once a year, because the only thing we have in common with them is mitochondrial DNA, and Jeff will get drunk and start talking about immigrants, and I’ll get all left-wing and point out to him he’s a racist, and he’ll go purple with denying it, and then you’ll scowl at me for creating a bad atmosphere, even though Jeff is one of those wankers who voted for Brexit, which makes him a FUCKING NAZI in my book, and we all know who created a bad atmosphere in the 1940s. And I’m sick of Judy suddenly demanding at the last minute that she sees us on Christmas Eve. I fucking hate having to be her rent-a-family every Christmas. She could see us in February, or June, or October, but no – she is determined to be in that particular relationship, so all we are to her is a convenient family with a kid she can coo over when the mood takes her… can’t she go and bother his relatives instead this year? It’s so bloody selfish of her. It just means we have to tidy the house in an even more tidy way than at any other time of the year, and it’s all on top of all the other shit we’ve got to be doing, and yet the house MUST BE TIDY. I bet Charles Dickens never tidied his fucking house especially for Christmas, and he’s the most Christmas person ever.
We have to visit old people a lot that we only see at this time of year! And they say how much I’ve grown this year, except if they saw me more often they’d probably not say that. I’ve been looking at me in the mirror every day, and I don’t think I’ve grown. I like Uncle Jeff though. He makes funny jokes and funny voices and he’s friendly and does magic tricks and gives me nice presents. Daddy and Mummy keep telling me to be polite and not talk about my friends so much, or sing so much, or dance so much, or to keep interrupting, but I want to tell people stuff! I love Christmas! Daddy and Jeff keep talking about Europe, and The News, and Politics a lot, which is boring. I want Daddy to play with me, and Jeff to tell me more of his funny jokes and do magic tricks instead of talking about boring things on the News. And then Mummy will elbow Daddy in the ribs, and they’ll have a muttered conversation in the car on the way home about spoiling the atmosphere. And I like Judy. I wish I saw her more often. She buys me nice colouring books. She’s like a special Christmas person who isn’t Santa Claus. It would be weird to see her in the summer. Perhaps she doesn’t exist in the summer? I hate it before these people come around. Mummy goes mad about tidying. Why do people want things to be tidy? I don’t like tidying, and Mummy keeps making me tidy things. It’s completely wrong! And why does everything smell of sugar?
And we have to see them. And they’re only in town for 48 hours, and let’s hope they could squeeze us in. But I’m not going up the pub to see the boys… yes, I’m going to give the 2016-old-gang-reboot a miss this year, because we know what will happen: We all have to commiserate with Carl about his divorce, and I’ll have to ask Steven how the business is going, and he’ll gloat, and when everyone asks what I’m up to, I’ll mumble about working in retail, and somehow end up resenting these guys – these great guys I went to school with, and drank with, and pulled girls with, and smoked pot with, and we’re all 40 now, and… and… and yet, they’re all successful and affluent and GROWN-UP, and I’m still playing in bands, and they haven’t touched their guitars in years so we can’t exactly do a gig anymore. And they’ve got their lives, wives, kids and BMWs sorted, and I’m fumbling about with being a semi-stay@home Dad, and not having enough hours in work to call it a full-time role, working at the same level as Saturday teenagers and the just-graduateds, and being twenty years older than them. I don’t want to go up the pub and be beery-laddy and call each other by homophobic slurs like we used to in 1995, or be the only one who finds that sort of thing tiresome and offensive, and I’ll just meekly accept it and not challenge it as usual. Well, this year, I’m giving it a miss.
Daddy said he wasn’t going to the pub with the boys. What boys? If there are boys, I want to be with them. Are there girls as well? Mummy told me to shush. Daddy’s being quiet. Daddy went upstairs and found some old photos of all his friends when they were 16 and looked at them, but was a bit quiet about it. He’s not telling me who they are, or what they were doing. It looks like they went to lots of parties. Now he’s listening to an old tape of a band he was in with some of his friends. The singing is bad, and it all sounds a bit muffled. There’s a song called Spliffman the Sockbong. Daddy says the song is about a sort of superhero but won’t tell me what the superhero’s powers are. He looks at the photos and then looks sad. And then he announces he won’t go to the pub. Mummy said he should probably go to the pub, they’re only all there for one night. Daddy said no, I’m not going, and then he sulks a bit in front of the telly, and goes upstairs to strum on his guitar in a sad way. The following day, he says he wished he went up the pub.
And at some point I’ll hate Fairytale of New York, because it’s overrated bilge for people too snobby to accept that Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses, and All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey, are fucking brilliant Christmas tunes. And I’ll hate all the comedy specials. And I’ll hate the special Christmas Editions of… and because we’re at Mary’s house for Boxing Day, we’ll have to watch all the populist crap on the telly, and I just want to watch The Box of Delights on DVD again. in fact, Alice is old enough for The Box of Delights now! AWESOME.
And I love the sweeties and the treats and all the cartoons on TV. And I love all the songs, particularly the one sung by the tramp and his girlfriend. And all the programmes with all the famous people on them. And we all sit on the sofa at Mary’s house and watch all the funny sparkly programmes until past my bedtime. And Daddy is showing me a DVD called The Box of Delights, and it’s really old and everyone talks like the Queen in it. And Mummy is showing me a film of a book I’ve got called The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and everyone in it talks like The Queen again. And then The Actual Queen is on telly and she’s older than Granny. I just want to watch The Polar Express because I want to watch it all through the year, and Daddy says “in JULY??” unless it’s actually Christmas, in which case I watch it without him complaining.
And then we’ll cram everything into the space between 27th of December and 1st January, without getting any relaxation at all, and we have to see people, and do things, and be out all day, and not come back until late, and we’ll eat crap and takeaways, and feel bloated and hungover, and it won’t stop until we stagger back to work on the 2nd January, feeling like shit, hating our jobs, hating our colleagues. It’s as though the end of the world had been announced, we had all panicked and screamed, and in the streets we had fallen over ourselves to frantically copulate with the nearest person as our final act… and then the apocalypse was a false alarm, and we all had to put our clothes back on, and carry on with our lives. That is going back to work after Christmas, after the parties and the drinking and the shenanigans, with the final dregs of Christmas being packed away, and the world looking grey and shit and wet and tired and futile and miserable until April.
I don’t understand why we’re going into town AFTER Christmas to buy more things. I don’t really know all these people I’m seeing. Apparently they’re old friends. I’ve never met them before, or if I have, I was a baby last time. They keep making a fuss of me, which is nice. Sometimes they have children who are my age. When they go, Mummy and Daddy keep saying “Yes! We must!”. Must what? Must we?
You know what? Let’s just find a mansion house in the countryside, hire it for Christmas, light the fire, put up the tree, go along the snowy lane to the midnight service, sing the more Pagan-sounding carols, and then come back to the mansion, eat some mince pies, someone will light a fart, and we’ll declare it to be the most joyful time of the year…
I LOVE Christmas! I love presents! I love Nana and Granny, and all the family are here!
…and we’ll do without all this superficial Yuletide Frippery. It’s all too much fuss for just one day. One Day, One Christmas, we’ll do just that.
I want it to be Christmas all the time! I want it to snow! I want us to open presents all the time and eat the yummy food. I want to see all my family and all our friends, even the ones we never see the rest of the year! I want everyone to be happy and friendly and lovely and singy, and the telly to show all the films. Not James Bond though. James Bond is rubbish. Daddy says it’s not. But it is.
And then, on the morning of the 25th of December, when I’m tired and grumpy and fed up, and wearing uncomfortable clothes, and being on my best behaviour, and we’re all a bit frazzled, Alice will unwrap her present… and she’ll be so excited, she sings ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ by way of thanks… and I’ll get a lump in my throat… yeah, that’ll be near-enough for Christmas.
Sometimes, at Christmas, I’ll think about Baby Jesus in his crib. So I sing one of the carols I’ve been learning, and that usually shuts Daddy up.