Why I Hate Christmas


That time of year has come around yet again. That golden-hued, pine-scented, tinsel-strewn time we call Christmas. Department stores are bedecked in their finest decorations, festive adverts outweigh non-festive ones 2:1 and the pressure to purchase is building. It is the most wonderful time of the year…or at least that’s what every shop sound system insists upon. And indeed, Christmas is a beautiful time in which families and friends reunite for food, drink and terrible cracker jokes.

There’s just one problem: all of these things are already in full swing, and we’re barely half way through November.

It is this crazed anticipation that has rendered me firmly anti-Christmas.

There are a lot of you who will undoubtedly call me a Scrooge for daring to express my misgivings, but I must make it clear that it isn’t Christmas itself that I don’t like but rather the prematurity and hyperbole of it all. The nervy anticipation of it. The Christmas-Cards-In-The-Shops-Come-August, Elf come September and First-Christmas-Tree-Sighting come October of it.

Christmas isn’t a mere 24-hour (or 72, allowing for the 24th and 26th) cycle anymore. The fact is that the lifespan of each separate Christmas lasts nigh on a year. If December is host to the event itself, January and February are spent in financial desolation, June, July and August in preparation and September, October and November in excited anticipation, then March, April and May are pretty much the only moments in which we’re Crimbo-free. And even then the battle scars of yet another December 25 can be seen in the clearance sales, extraneous bathroom products and lights that haven’t yet been taken down.

I hate the predictability  that this exhausting and drawn out life cycle has given Christmas. I could draw up a timeline of the coming weeks, tracking exactly the moments in which people publicly announce they are watching Elf, losing it over the Coca Cola advert and wrapping their presents, and I bet I’d be almost spot on. So repetitive has the holiday become, that there’s no life left in it anymore; no spontaneity or soul.

Although a 21st century spender and definite fan of a good label myself, I also find the extent to which Christmas has been commercialised rather disturbing. Not because the holiday is now widely accepted as a secular as well as a religious one, but rather due to the fact that the entire thing has become a tired pantomime of over-hashed adverts and marketing ploys that view no subject as too sacred to utilise. Did you know that the legend of Santa Claus is commonly depicted wearing red only because Coca Cola represent him so? How about that brands like VOGUE and Fortnum & Mason start intensive work on Christmas as early as June? Even some of today’s most time-honoured traditions now stem directly from massive corporations (John Lewis advert, I am of course looking at you).

But above all of these things, above even (i’ll admit it) the sense of jealousy I get from seeing families un-blighted by divorce all come together for a day of joy, it’s the ability that Christmas has to distract us that really unnerves me the most.

How disturbing it is to watch people wish the many days away in honour of the one; the advent calendars we worship acting as a the chalked tally chart on a prisoner’s cell wall. Dramatic perhaps, but that’s how I see it.

Christmas is essentially the Friday of the year; that ever-elusive moment that denies its worshipers true happiness as it approaches, comes briefly into being, and then disappears again as quickly as it arrived. Never has one holiday so successfully made prey of so many people’s mindfulness as this one. The Christmas hysteria extends far beyond genuine excitement: it’s a concept on which to hang happiness like stockings. Not content with the moment in which we are living, instead we fixate on a vaguely distant and fleeting one.

Rita Mae Brown said that  “happiness is pretty simple: someone to love, something to do, something to look forward to.” Unfortunately, it seems to me as though modern Christmases have whisked up the former two points and dumped them collectively into the latter. There is no present doing or loving anymore, only the promise of a future in which we will do and will love. And though on the surface it may be golden-hued, pine-scented and tinsel-strewn, that underlying Christmas sentiment seems pretty bleak to me.

Badass Women of the Week • 15.11.2015

badass women

Zainab Salbi

Salbi, who founded the humanitarian group Women for Women International and spent much of her life helping women in war torn countries is now a talk show host whose first series sees a piece featuring two women who were kidnapped and raped by IS. The show is broadcast across 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Charlie Edge and Ruth Howarth

Who used their synchronised periods to their advantage this week when they donned white trousers and forwent sanitary products in order to protest the tampon tax outside the Houses of Parliament.

Juliana de Faria

For encouraging women to share their first experiences (via this hashtag) of sexual harassment online as a response to some disturbingly sexualised Tweets concerning a 12 year-old contestant on Brazilian Masterchef.

Rhianna Kemi

After her ex wrote a crude article in The Tab about his disgust at oral sex, Kemi replied by saying:  “When I hear guys say that they ‘don’t go down on girls’, all I hear is fear.” Preach.

Du Blonde

The musician defended her ‘Welcome Back To Milk’ cover art by writing on her Facebook: “So it’s ok for men to use images of naked women they don’t know to sell records but not for the women making music to use images of themselves because that’s shameful? Why does a woman have to cover up to be taken seriously in an industry full of topless men grabbing their dicks through their pants and grinding on, wait for it…. naked women?”

Rupi Kaur

Whose poem has been widely shared as a sign of support and beacon of hope for those affected in this week’s Paris, Japan, Beirut, Baghdad, Mexico and Lebanon tragedies.

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