Sunday, 18 December 2016

The best (and worst) things about Christmas

Christmas is probably my favourite time of the year, but it can also be stressful. If you don't really dig the festive season and you're surrounded by people in Santa hats branding you a Scrooge, then the pressure to enjoy yourself can actually be even more of a downer. I love Christmas, I really do, but I thought I'd bring a balanced argument to the table of why sometimes, I just can't be bothered to "ho ho ho" my way through it.

The worst things about Christmas

I'm not 18 anymore, and neither is my liver. I don't really enjoy getting absolutely steaming but Christmas Eve and New Years Eve always feel like day-long drink-athons. I enjoy a trip to the pub like anyone else but wow do us Brits go hard. There's nothing like trying to choke down your Christmas morning Bucks Fizz with a gurgling tummy and stinking headache.

My bank balance
I'm about as good with my money as Augustus Gloop was at staying away from that chocolate fountain, so I always end up dipping into our house savings at this time of year. I really don't begrudge spending money on a good time, but like many of you, I literally never learn. After living off of Quality Street and leftover wine for a week that late December pay day is a lifesaver.

The shortest day
Back when I was an antisocial student the dark nights were a perfect excuse to stay in and watch One Tree Hill re-runs with my housemates, but now I find it totally depressing. There is no amount of hygge snug-ness that could persuade me that the sun going down at 4pm is a good thing. I miss summer evenings sat outside with a cold drink, and Christmas week is also the darkest.

Christmas cards
Don't get me wrong, I like to receive the odd Christmas card and I'm grateful to be thought of, but I just cannot get my act together on this one. I always do them at the last minute so have to hand deliver them anyway, or I'll somehow manage to forget someone and probably offend them. A couple of years running I bought lovely Paperchase ones and forgot to do them at all! It must be even worse if you're a parent - 30 of the bloody things? No thank you.

The January blues
This one I'm sure most of you can relate to. I don't get Christmas week off work but things are definitely a lot more relaxed over the period (and there are often mince pies and sweets scattered about the office). Stripping all the decorations down in January and putting the early alarms back on makes everything feel so bare and deflated that I always feel a bit down in the dumps. The struggle is real, people.

And the best things about Christmas

These lists are in no particular order but man is this top of the list. I'm a foodie through and through and if there's one thing I love its a proper Christmas dinner. Shoutout to my mum who's got this thing down this year! Pigs in blankets are God's greatest gift to the world.

Friends and family
Some people find the social occasions that revolve around Christmas a nightmare but I quite enjoy them. Maybe I've gotten a bit soft in my old age but I like surrounding myself with my favourite humans. And yes, you're kind of forced to get together with relatives you've not seen all year and mates you might not have spoken to in a while, but there's something wholesome about making the effort to do it at Christmas time. 

The pretty decorations
I was definitely a magpie in a former life. There's nothing that says Christmas more than a set of twinkling lights and reams of garishly coloured tinsel. The cheesier the better. And High Street Christmas lights also have this way of making me feel a bit warm and fuzzy inside and like I might be in the cast of Love Actually or something.

Christmas films
I would watch them all year if I could. Elf, Muppets Christmas Carol, National Lampoons and Krampus to name but a few. I even noticed there are TV channels dedicated to them all December. They're the one thing that helps me get into the Christmas spirit no matter how grumpy I feel.

All the consumerism that surrounds Christmas gets a bad wrap (geddit?) and I don't believe in spending hundreds and hundreds of pounds on people just because it might have been Jesus's birthday one time, BUT I really like the giving part of Christmas. I like how even the smallest of presents can light up someone's face, I like that it's the time of year when people do more to give to charity and help those less fortunate, I like that people try really hard to find the perfect gift for someone they care about. It's just so damn nice to give things to people. If only we were as selfless all year round!

What do you love (or hate!) about Christmas?

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