It’s Chrisssssstmaaaassss (sort of)
I know it’s early November, but this is a hill I’m willing to die on
You’ve probably seen the Instagram stories; the ones where people are counting down until midnight on 31 October, surrounded by pumpkins and monsters and as the clock strikes twelve, Mariah Carey bursts forth all glittery and smelling of cinnamon, belting out “all I want for Christmas” in only the way that she can. Well let me tell you - I am here for that level of commitment to the festive season and I LOVE IT.
I know that I’ve previously waxed lyrical about my love for autumn but oh how quickly my allegiance changes once November 1st arrives. To be honest, I start my festive countdown during the summer, when I book my annual tickets to the Spirit of Christmas shopping fair at London’s Olympia. Because obviously that’s what Christmas is all about, isn’t it - buying stuff! (Before anyone comes for me on this, I'm being sarcastic. I know that Christmas is celebrated for all sorts of reasons. The fact that I just happen to really enjoy buying things for people - and myself - is just a happy coincidence). I do not mind a jot that a full two months before the great event, shops have already put up their sparkly trees, enticing you in to buy another Santa jumper or a mincepie (with an expiry date that is actually pre December 25th). Or that John Lewis has already rolled out another tear jerker advert with a song that I’ve obviously going to download and stick in my "future Christmas classics" play list. The fact that Tesco’s has more festive chocolate selection boxes than I gathered in preparation for local trick or treaters is mind boggling (no joke, I should have taken out shares in Cadbury’s to feed the St Albans masses that turned up on my doorstep this year). And those Christmas chocs were on the shelves WAY before I’ve even thought about cramming the fake skulls and bones from my Halloween front garden back into the loft for another years. This is all absolutely fine with me.
Let’s be honest, it’s an uplifting time of the year, so why wouldn’t you want to start it as soon as you can? Last year was bliss for me (and so many others - you know who you are). In the midst of COVID, lockdowns and working and living in the same four walls for 24 hours a day, we created our own joy by embracing the holiday season even earlier than normal.
Did the tree go up mid November? Yes it did.
Did it stay up far too long into January? Hell yes.
So from my perspective, precedence has now been set (and with my HR hat on, “precedence” is always a tricky thing to undo - at least that's what I am telling my OH). Maybe we should edge the start of the festive season forward a little each year, until we’re in one perpetual Christmas time. Though I guess I do feel for those guys working in the Fortnums Christmas department (or any Christmas department for that matter). One year I asked them how often they rotated out into another section, as the non stop Christmas music must be sending them crazy. With a twitch and through gritted teeth, the glassy eyed assistant explained that once you were on the Christmas department, you were in. A kind of festive jail for 4 months. I guess that might be a tad too much, even for me.
Anyway, I’ve got far too much to think about to prepare for this coming December, let alone consider a nationwide push to rebrand time.
For starters, I need to spend a considerable amount of time extracting Christmas decoration boxes that have been strategically stored in the loft. I say I have to extract - we all know it’ll be the OH on his hands and knees dragging boxes out for my inspection, only to be told it’s the wrong set of decorations. "Good god man, it’s the Nordic snow scene theme this year, not Silver Sparkle or Victorian Parlour."
I have my parents to thank for my need to decorate as many rooms in the house as I can (though I'd draw the line at the downstairs loo - mainly because I don’t have a downstairs loo). When I was young, it was always a household event - putting the “deccies” up - taking an entire day on the first Sunday in December. Yes, we would intentionally make our house feel a third smaller for an entire month by looping foil decorations from the ceiling, tinselling anything that stood still for long enough and trailing glitter into as many nooks and crannies as possible. My sister and I proudly named our home “The House of Tack” - but you know what, there wasn’t a happier or cheerier house to be seen for miles (probably, I have absolutely no way of verifying that statement).
And then there's the food. I need to start thinking about that turkey crown order that I need to place with our local butchers. I’ve also got Christmas puddings to make (thank you Nigella for the glorious recipe, am looking forward to licking the spoon with a lascivious look in my eye as I pour the sticky goodness into multiple pudding bowls); nine million cranberry minced pies will be whipped up, delivered to neighbours and consumed (again, thanks to Nigella and her wickedly sumptuous Christmas cookery book) and a Christmas cake baked (this time thanks to the grand master, Mary Berry - surely there is no other chef with a suitably festive name for the job?) that will inevitable get iced on Christmas Eve, as we wait for Santa on his local RoundTable sleigh to make his way through the streets of St Albans.
I haven’t even got started on my thoughts about present buying, work parties, card writing (and failing to send), tracking down Christmas markets, falling down on winter ice rinks, pantomime booing and the inevitable long drawn out decision of how exactly we’re going to spend our Christmas week. Probably in the car - how fabulous (and that's probably the reason why I want to cram in as much festive goodness into November and December as I can).
So for all of those Scrooges who don’t want to partake in anything remotely Christmassy until at least December, can you kindly please get in the sea? As I have only one objective now and you’re not going to like it….
All together now “so here it is Merry Christmas, everybody’s having fun…”