I’m listening to Christmas songs. There I said it. Is it socially acceptable yet? I don’t care. I started listening to them about three weeks ago and I’m not remotely sorry: Not even sorry for my long suffering boyfriend who had to listen to A Spaceman Came Travelling approximately 23568256749 times over the course of one three hour car journey last weekend. He should count himself lucky.
I’m sure it won’t come as much of a surprise to hear that I LOVE Christmas. If it were up to me we’d start celebrating at the end of August. I’ll be the first to drink mulled wine, the first to watch Love Actually, the first to don a festive jumper or request All I Want For Christmas in a club (don’t hate me). I would be the first to string up fairy lights were it not for the fact that if I did so, my housemates would unceremoniously cast me out into the street.
I’m accustomed to having eyes rolled at me when I suggest we pop some chestnuts on an open fire or play a bit of Nat King Cole. While I’m at home sellotaping paper decorations to my ceiling, intermittently sipping on baileys and demanding ‘MORE LIGHTS, MORE TINSEL’, tasteful people the nation over are sighing wistfully and harking back to a time when Christmas was a classy affair, celebrated on the 25th of December only.
I could tell you the reason I am so very fond of this time of year is all to do with charitable giving and goodness and going to church. But that would be a lie. In truth, the superficial stuff really gets me going: The John Lewis window display, Coca-Cola advert, twinkly lights on Oxford Street and exorbitantly priced mulled wine fill me with perfunctory glee.
Ultimately though, it’s not the relentless push for consumerism that makes me love Christmas so tinsel-toffing much. It’s the feeling: The festive feeling. The togetherness. The singing. God I love the singing. It’s the snuggling up on the sofa with a mulled wine and movie. It’s the contentment that comes from just being at home by the fire. It’s the everybody-coming-together-and-making-an-effort-to-really-“get-into-the-spirit-of-things” and have a silly, gay old time. I don’t think it’s ever too early to strive for that stuff… And admiring a twinkly tree whilst doing so wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
The virtuous may say that we’ve lost the true meaning of Christmas. I mean yes, I suppose it is now less about baby-Jesus-being-born-in-a-stable and more about keeping-the-turkey-moist-until-serving: But for me, the non-believer, the modern meaning of Christmas lies in the season’s splendor, it’s silliness, it’s innate fun, festivity and family time.
The majority of the UK is atheist. We don’t need any of this stuff. When we really break it down it’s all a bit silly isn’t it? Hauling a tree, big beyond all reason, across the city so that it may proceed to drop pine needles all over our floorboards for the next month: Spiking a lard filled festive dessert with pennies at great risk to our dental health: A jolly man dressed all in red dropping parcels down the chimney.
But the world can be a callous, miserable place. So is it really too much to ask that we extend this period of conviviality and celebration a little longer? This year particularly, I think we could do with a little Christmas spirit. Actually we could do with a lot of it. We need a little twinkle to brighten up the sky. We need silly headgear and carol singing and festive cheer. It really can’t come soon enough.