It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas: Border Belle’s getting Grinchy

Hold on to your novelty paper hats everyone because like it or not here we go again. Christmas is poised and ready to make an even more unwelcome comeback than Atomic Kitten. Unwelcome to me, I should say, since the rest of the world seems more than happy to go half-mad for a whole month or more.

In fact I could almost tolerate the whole schmaltzy, gaudy, glittery, tat-fest if it actually began on the first of December and went away quietly on the 26th.  But it all begins as soon as the cards hit the shops and the mince pies hit the supermarket shelves.  A time of year that was previously known as ‘September’. We haven’t even got Halloween much less Bonfire Night out of the way before the shops are playing Christmas muzak on a loop and encouraging us all to buy, buy, and buy some more.

Yes, just call me Scrooge or The Grinch or whatever. I really don’t mind (I’ve heard all the names before!) and I flatter myself that more and more people are secretly feeling exactly the same way as I do. The braver ones even admit it. But always under their breath and with a guilty glance around just in case anyone they know is listening. Because it really wouldn’t be the done thing to be overheard trashing Christmas, now would it?

Speaking personally, I find the whole blooming over-the-top, more than mildly manic frenzy one great big, tinsel wrapped, turn-off. In any case, as we all know, sugar plus sitting for hours equals bad for you. Add alcohol and industrial amounts of turkey and roast potatoes into the mix and Christmas suddenly equals extremely – even worryingly – bad for you. We all greedily succumb to just one more mince pie and – oh go on then – one more glass of sherry. And why not heap on spoonfuls of brandy butter because you can only buy it at this time of year and it would be such a pity to miss out.

And what about all those schmaltzy adverts with penguins or polar bears? Haven’t polar bears got enough to worry about nowadays without being the sole custodians of the retail sector’s Christmas profits? Not to mention the recent craze for Christmas jumpers. Do you really need another cheap, scratchy snowman sweater to properly get into the spirit of Christmas?

We Grinches react with horror at the whole crazy, off the wall spending spree (mainly on over-the-top glittery tat that you wouldn’t look at any other time of the year.) Or buying ‘token’ presents for people who have more than enough stuff already makes us want to curl up under the nearest Christmas tree with our eyes shut tight and fingers firmly in our ears until it’s all over.

And then we all have the “We simply must get together before Christmas” conversations as if the world is due to come to some apocalyptic, screeching end just after the big day. Thank you very much for the invitation of course but if I have to shave my legs before I go anywhere nowadays well, to be honest, I’d much rather stay at home. Please can we all get a grip and leave Christmas to the Christians and those blessed with children with ages still in the single digits?

I’m so sorry if that was a bit of a rant. An over-the-top, chilly, Grinchy, blast of bah humbug but sometimes a girl just has to get stuff off her chest. And if you are one of Santa’s little helpers at heart, enjoying Christmas for whatever holy or unholy reason, then have a great one. Sincerely, have a very merry Yuletide. Just leave me and my fellow Grinches out of it.

But in the interests of fairness, I remember with undimmed gratitude the wonderful family who rescued me from my status as a Christmas waif and stray one year. My soon-to-be-ex and I were battling our way through the world’s most toxic divorce and goodwill toward all men and one man in particular was in very short supply. They gathered me to their collective seasonal bosom and made sure that for three whole days I felt loved, included, and yes, dammit, thoroughly festive. Almost despite myself I joined in with their family traditions, went to midnight mass, feasted on the delicious festive food, drank champagne whilst exchanging small and decidedly silly gifts, and wrapped up well for cold walks on the nearby moors.  It all had wonderful, laid back, grown-up gaiety to it and yes, I admit it I enjoyed every warm, welcoming and generous minute.

And perhaps that’s what even dyed in the wool Grinches like me have to pause and remember. Christmas is surely about friendship and kindness more than it seems to be about tinsel and tat? They say what goes around comes around and maybe I’ll have the opportunity to do something similar for another Christmas outcast one snowy Yuletide.

But please forgive me if I succumb to my true nature and end on a Grinchy note. December can feel like a month long national holiday when everything (and everyone!) slowly collapses into a frazzled heap of alcohol soaked dyspepsia by the time the skies darken on the 25th. Not to mention ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ playing on a loop in your head for a whole solid month before the Big Day. And did I mention the endless mince pies? Happy Christmas! Enjoy!

Three more amusing posts by Border Belle if you CLICK HERE