Finally we’re nestled snugly in December, the only time when it’s acceptable to wear truly hideous jumpers and tell truly cheesy jokes. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not against Christmas; it’s the only time I can write a demanding list and expect not to be called spoilt or selfish, but something about the whole holiday just feels so contrived.

Christmas adverts make me excited, as they do for most people. They remind us that even though the days are shorter and the nights are colder we have something to look forward to, a time for family arguments, monopoly tournaments and rubbish TV re-runs. But at the same time, it reminds me that, soon, people will start going crazy, fighting tooth and nail for that last in-demand turkey and getting lost in a game of one-upmanship in which the winner is judged by their fairy lights and reindeer lawn ornaments. Christmas makes most of us crazy; we start hopping on sales and subconsciously analysing every new product for its Christmas gift-ability. It has a strange effect on us, as well as joining us together in unison singing Christmas songs at the pub; it grabs hold of us and shakes us violently in a spin of sparkly sequins, tattered tinsel and downright lunacy.

I am a part of this lunacy, joining the crush of people that run up and down the aisles clawing and grabbing at any possibility for a good present, and I despise it. I don’t know what Christmas is about but when I was younger it was about family, and I know for most people it still is; it’s just the pre-Christmas rush which makes us all forget that, in the end, it doesn’t matter if you get your mum a pair of washing up gloves or a pair of earrings, she’ll still love you all the same.

But I admit that it is worth it to go crazy, just for a while, getting to watch family members do their best to hide their disappointment that they got a pair of socks instead of a laptop. Christmas reminds me of an awkward family member. You know he’s coming and you have to plan extensively to ensure his arrival goes smoothly. He irritates you at the best of times but, once he’s here, he reminds you that you enjoy his company, and all the presents he brings with him.

It can be an irritating and stressful time of year. Shopping is an impossibility and obscure family members start getting in touch. However, it is at least still (as cheesy as this may sound) all about giving. Why else would we go crazy to get the perfect gift for the ones we love? Well, because we love them of course, and they deserve to unwrap something nice rather than something we just dusted off from our shelves and re-gifted.

In short, Christmas (to me) is a mystery. The nicest of people become saddled down with lists: lists of things to do, things to buy and things to make, and these lists almost serve to destroy the idea of Christmas togetherness as much as they serve purpose to create it. Why should Christmas have to be all about consumerism every year? But then again, Christmas also makes me overly sentimental, so maybe you shouldn’t listen to my Christmas crazy talk after all.

Originally published on December the 11th 2011. Image Rights; Flickr|The Hills Are Alive

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