I LOVE Christmas, but this doesn’t stop me from whining about it. In no particular order these are the Top 5 things which truly annoy, baffle, frustrate and irk me …
1. Happy Holidays!
Um, nope. I think you’ll find it’s Happy Christmas! A holiday is something I go on when I travel to a place that isn’t my home and do some sightseeing. Christmas is something completely different to that scenario. I think it’s an Americanism because it’s also said at Thanksgiving, Easter and Hallowe’en and over here we only really celebrate one of those.
[Edited to add: I'm wrong; it's only said as a way to incorporate all religious festivals at this time of year. It is still an Americanism though and it still irks me. *grin*]
When the entire English-speaking population of the world has succumbed to Happy Holidays! America will rub its hands in glee and know they have finally become Masters of the Universe.
2. The Round Robin*
We all get at least one every year stuffed inside a card, and they can be summed up in the following ways:
i. I’m friends with you on Facebook and haven’t missed a single one of your status updates. Why are you sending me this?
ii. I haven’t seen you since 1652. Why do you think I care about what little Cyril did when the bird pooped on his head?
iii. Gosh, my family is so inferior to yours. Excuse me whilst I go and do something tragic/amazing (so that my family have something to write about next year.)
(*with apologies to anyone who sent me one this year)
Christmas can bring out the worst in people. It’s also a time of year when some have to bite their tongue and just go with the flow to avoid those terrible arguments, which will have repercussions well into the first eleven or-so months of the new year. Christmas should be about family, but only if you have a family or indeed, a family that you want to spend time with.
I’m a tongue-biter, go with the flow kind of gal.
My BiL has spent every Christmas Eve and the following Christmas Day at my MiLs since the year my FiL so tragically passed away. He got married this year and obviously wants to spend the night/day with his new wife, who in turn wants to spend the day with her parents because a) she always has and b) her grandmother is very poorly this year. When MiL Dearest heard about this she threw a Very Big Fit.
Christmas is for the family! she said. My boys should be spending it with me! she said.
She’d been invited to spend the day with my YASiLs family and we were going to spend the night before with her and have breakfast. I was looking forward to us then heading home and cooking my Blokey a fabulous Christmas dinner, with all the proverbial trimmings.
It’s not to be.
It is probably never to be.
I am destined to a life of Christmas Day boredom with my MiL on an annual basis. We’ve agreed to staying with her for Christmas dinner but I put my foot down about staying into the evening for tea. No! I said.
It isn’t so much that we have to spend it with her; it’s the assumption that we will spend it with her and the blatant disregard of the fact that both I and YASiL have our own families too and we might one day want to spend time with them on the actual day itself.
I must try harder to get pregnant in 2014; a baby is the only thing that will stop this malarkey. Yes, my baby will just be for Christmas. Yes, I expect I am destined to be childless. It will be my punishment for some minor misdemeanor I don’t remember committing.
4. Festive Charity Givers
There are people all around the world who need help every single day, not just for/at Christmas. Hidden amongst the adverts for food, alcohol and toys (both grow’d up and for children) are the pitiful visual representations of crying children, freezing homeless folk, blind cats and diseased reindeer.
Give to charity! they scream. We want your money! they beg.
I don’t have an issue with giving to charity. I do have an issue with people who only give to charity at this time of year and who shout it from the rooftops so that everybody knows. I assume I’m supposed to give them a Big Thumbs Up? I don’t.
Connected to this is those people who come into the office (or wherever) and say, Oh, I’m not giving out Christmas cards this year. I’m just going to give the money I would have spent to charity.’They rarely tell you which charity though. I think most of them are just a bunch of tight-fisted Scrooge’s. The same applies to people who just send an ecard at Christmas. What’s the point in that? I can’t put it on my non-existent mantlepiece, can I? I’d much rather people were honest and just said, Look, I really can’t be arsed to spend an afternoon writing out Christmas cards and then spend oodles of money on stamps so they get to the right person at the right time. I have much more respect for honesty.
5. Santa Fuck!ng Claus
Who IS he? When I was a child we didn’t have Santa Claus. We had Father Christmas. Father Christmas is jolly and huggable and just lovely. Santa Claus sounds strict and like some creepy uncle who you don’t really want to see, but have to. He probably has a scratchy beard, quite unlike the fluffy cotton-wool one worn by Father Christmas.
Santa Claus is an Americanism (and this isn’t an America-bashing post, honest) which found its way to America courtesy of the Dutch and (much later) Coca-Cola. Father Christmas was originally part (as Father Winter) of the Midwinter festivities celebrated in Europe a very long time ago. In recent years Santa has started infiltrating the British Isles, emblazoning his name upon wrapping paper, cards and gift tags and sneakily permeating our quaint little media so that his name can be shouted through the airwaves.
I wish he’d just fuck off. I don’t mind ‘Santa Claus’ when uttered by an American (they know no better) or as a character in a (n American) film, poem or book. But when I hear a native of this fair land saying Santa Claus it quite gets my goat.
When the entire English-speaking population of the world has succumbed to Santa Claus America will rub its hands in glee and know they have finally become Masters of the Universe.
Just call me Mrs Scrooge.