That jolly festive time is upon us once more. Days are grey, nights are long and my poor extremities are numb to the point of snapping, due to the biting cold. Shoppers are stockpiling food as if the Armageddon is approaching and the stores are filled with the jolly tunes of Cliff Richard & Shakin Stevens!!! Not wanting to be totally ‘Bah Humbug’, I do actually rather like Christmas, I always have, I just don’t get as explosively excited as some. Our house has a naturally excited 7 year old, an unnaturally excited mother, a freakishly excited Springer Spaniel, and me… I can’t even begin to compete with those levels of excitement!!!
Christmas, for me, is a two week holiday of fun, friends, family, food, booze, gifts and good telly. You have your run-up week, then your enjoy and wind-down week. Then January. Oh joy 🙁 This is how I always remembered Christmas to be, and in my eyes, this is how it still is. Or should be. Is this being ‘Bah Humbug’? We had neighbours as a child who would religiously transform their terraced house into a tinselled Xmas wonderland on November 6th. Every single year, without fail, with fireworks still smouldering in the garden, the decorations would go up on this date. And that for me (even as a child) was ridiculous. But in today’s commercial world, November decorations are really common. Hell, my last blog post was back in sunny August and some shops had their Xmas stock already on the shelves!!! I saw a Xmas tree in a pub in September!!! Yes it was only there to drum up bookings for their Xmas meal, but IT WAS SEPTEMBER!!!
I’m sure back in the day, large department stores didn’t unveil their glitzy Xmas sections until December. Or maybe my parents simply kept me well away from them until then 🙄 Either way, the build-up to Xmas was a lot more subtle when I was younger. A crappy advent calendar drawing of a candle was about as exciting as it got. And even that was every alternate day, as I shared the calendar with my sister. Kids today have multiple calendars. Chocolate gifts are the absolute minimal requirement today. Some 2014 calendars will give you actual real toys 😯 For me and my sister, the advent excitement culminated in the ‘double window’ on Xmas Eve. It was still a crappy drawing behind, but the ‘double window’ was symbolic, a sign. Santa was well and truly on his way…
Even the enigmatic Santa seems to have moved with the times. He can be accessed online today. Kids receive scarily accurate personalized video messages, all the way from the North Pole. This would’ve freaked me out big time as a child. As it was, we would queue in the Co-op toy department, (as this was the only place to see Santa) eagerly waiting to see the great man. Santa would naturally need to know exactly what I wanted for Xmas, so while queuing, I quickly went through my list. The nearer I got to the grotto the more excited I got. What gift would Santa give me? He always gave the children a gift. It was never anything much, but for a child brought up on crappy paper advent calendars this was a big deal… And then it was your turn 🙂 I sat on Santa’s knee (are kids allowed to do that today???) and rattled off my Xmas list, confident I’d not forgotten anything. Santa then reached down into his bag of presents and presented me with a purse 😯 A pink sparkly beaded purse 😯 A PURSE 😯 Maybe it had some Lego inside? It didn’t; it was empty!!! I took the little purse, thanked Santa and backed out of the grotto… My faith in the great man unsurprisingly started to dwindle from that moment on.
With the pink purse incident still haunting me, I went to bed on Xmas Eve without the normal excited butterflies bombarding my innards. If this was his starting gambit, what the hell was Santa going to bring in the night? Had he heard my Xmas list? Did he even care? Was Santa even real? That infamous question you start to ask at a certain age. You hear the rumours, which you initially dismiss, then you begin to doubt. If you’ve been given a sparkly pink purse the doubting gets pretty serious!!! But then the big day arrives. Your gifts have magically appeared and all thoughts about Santa’s identity and in my case sanity, can be shelved for another year…. Or for today’s children, shelved for another 6 months, until the Xmas money grabbing band-wagon rolls into a sunny town near you.
Bah Humbug 🙂