Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Countdown Begins . . .

by Jemima Carter

Only three months to wait . . .
(source: lifeasahuman.com)

Firstly, I would like to make it clear that I enjoy Christmas just as much as the next person. In fact I probably enjoy Christmas a whole lot more than the next person- I love walking onto the platform in the dark on frosty mornings with my mittens on, breathing out mist with air so cold it bites at your throat; I love hot water bottles, long pyjamas and thick socks; I love squishing into my sister’s bed at 6.30 in the morning with all my siblings to open stockings, and I actually quite like Brussels sprouts.

However, one thing I can’t abide is the endless commercialization of a celebration that is supposed to be all about charity and goodwill. We still have over two months until December even starts (yes- I’m not ashamed to say that my Christmas countdown has already been written in my planner for several weeks now) and yet we are already being bombarded with adverts for ‘great stocking-fillers’ (a term that I have an inexplicable, yet passionate, hatred for), being reminded in magazines that we should have started preparing months ago and being encouraged to get our turkey in early ‘to avoid disappointment’.

Now call me hypocritical, but it seems to me that all of the hype this early on just ends up degrading the actual day itself. By the time we get to the 25th (exactly a quarter of a year away), we are all so geared up that we find ourselves disappointed by the anticlimax. We keep on expecting the magic portrayed to us by the media; no matter how old we get, they still draw us in with their pink-cheeked children playing by the fire, wonderful family spirit around a table for a meal without even a hint of squabbling, and (most of all) long, hearty walks through metre-deep snow past charming cottages before returning home to melodious string music playing in the background.
Unfortunately, sooner or later we have to accept that some things are going to go wrong, whether it's not being able to celebrate in your own house because a relative has developed a horrendous allergy to your cat, having to accept the fact that location isn’t exactly on our side when it comes to the chance of a white Christmas, or realizing that the turkey won't actually fit in the oven.

At the end of the day, though, it’s all of these small dramas that make Christmas what it really is: the season of taking-it-all-in your stride. Although it might seem like the end of the world for a while, by the time it gets to New Year’s, we’ll all be laughing about it.


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