The C Word

So I was in Superdrug today just minding my own business, buying mouthwash and cotton wool (crazy spender, I know – treat yo self indeed), and I noticed they’ve started putting the Christmas gift sets out. Let’s get one thing out of the way right now, I fucking love Christmas. The earlier the better if you ask me, but I overheard some other customers giving it the old ‘bah, humbug – keep Christmas in December’ nonsense, and you know what? I feel like I need to stick up for Christmas now. Poor thing can’t turn up to the party a little bit early without getting told to go back to the North Pole until the first door on the Advent calendar is open. It’s okay, Christmas, Esther wants to hang out with you and you can cry on my shoulder when people are so mean about you.

Here’s the way I see it. Christmas, or December in general if you don’t personally observe Christmas as a holiday, is the reward for getting through the year. It’s like Friday nights, even if you have nothing special planned, that feeling starts building  the moment your alarm goes off and by 5 p.m. when you get in your car and start that journey home, you know that’s your time – your chance to relax and do whatever you want as a reward for getting through the week. December is a full month of ‘treat yo self’, whether you observe Christmas or not. It’s the only time of the year when it’s totally acceptable to gain weight, wear jumpers and leggings every day, meet up with friends and family you haven’t seen for ages and just  generally spoil yourself. Everyone is in such a good mood in the run-up to Christmas you can’t help but get caught up in it and no matter what you’ve done that particular year, you deserve that break. Personally, I’ve had an absolute shitter of a year so I cannot wait to laze around and do nothing from mid-November onwards. Once that John Lewis ad airs and people start saying “what the hell, it’s Christmas” I am done, don’t expect to find me doing anything more strenuous than slicing cheese to go with my crackers and stretching to put the star on top of the tree.

There is a lot of pressure around Christmas though and I totally understand that side of the argument. People spend money they don’t have buying things they don’t need to impress people they don’t really need to, and there’s such a focus on being with family/friends/a significant other that when you’re on your own it can feel like hand sanitiser over a papercut. I’ve been on that side of the coin; I lost my mum when I was a teenager and my sister moved abroad shortly after so the family Christmases I grew to know and love were taken away from me before I really got the chance to really appreciate them. Hell, one Christmas Eve I woke up to the news that one of my closest friends had been found dead the night before. I’ve spent many a Christmas morning in tears and have been known to spend Christmas Day eating frozen pizza and doing dissertation research, so I get it when people have personal reasons for finding Christmas hard and therefore feel bitter about it seemingly arriving earlier every year. However, to those people I ask – why are you stressing yourself out about it? Just because you might not be able to have the day exactly how you want it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it in your own way. How many people dream of getting married at the Plaza in a Vera Wang dress but still have a magical day in a hotel marquee wearing a high street dress and suit? Just because you might be without certain people or your life might not be exactly where you want it doesn’t mean you can’t veg out in front of Home Alone having some ‘you’ time with a sharing box of cheese and crackers.

December is the reward for getting through the arduous task of life for another 11 months, so stop being so bloody miserable and find a way to enjoy it. I’ve been on both sides of the Christmas debate, and the lesson I learned was that life is far too short and we work way too hard not to treat ourselves somehow, and who doesn’t love the feeling of being snuggled up in your PJs in front of a favourite childhood festive film with a box of chocolates, even if you are on your own. Me personally? I prefer it that way anyway!

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