“Are you ready yet for Xmas?” Everyone says it like it’s somehow never been said before. Like we’re in some big arms race where should you get caught out, not having splurged on enough presents, cards, cakes, drink, TV, trees and tinsel and lights and please-kill-me-shitting-Xmas-songs-fuck-you-George-Michael, you will be shot.
I can’t stand it. I never have been able to. As a child my Xmases were so shite it would take me years to recover, if I ever did. Then in my late teens and 20s, as a loan soldier out there in the cold dark emtpywank, I would pretend to ‘get into the spirit’ then get as quickly out of my brain as possible. Not that that helped. Even my late-20s when I would be with she-who-was-dangerously-insane, we would start Xmas morning with a glass of champagne, Phil Spector’s Xmas album and present opening… ooh! Ahhh! Woooooooow! I love you too!
Only I didn’t. I hated the whole rotten ritual. When people tell me, “I love Xmas.” Or: “I love this time of year.” I take a step back and inwardly shudder, wondering what must be so wrong with them that they actually like all this skin-crawlingly horrible shit.
When my babies were small, it was fun. For five minutes. Except they would get you up way too early in the hungover dawn, then make a huge mess with all the wrapping and search for batteries and sugar-high choccies for breakfast and fighting and screaming over whatever. The whole such a fucking ordeal.
I dread it every year. And every year it gets worse. Oh, I get moments of disconnect pleasure. But then I get that throughout the rest of the year too. And yes, I feel the time-passing and forced refresh of the ‘new’ year. But I always fall towards the end of the year like a man passing out from a brain haemorrhage. An arrow through the head. A sudden shove under the train. And it’s cold and it rains so I feel like an actor and I think of Ma and I want to get back there…