Christmas, a time for giving, sharing and togetherness. A magical time filled with joyful carols, children’s laughter and jingling sleigh bells.
But Christmas isn’t all carol singing and shiny red noses. Although it’s the season to be jolly, Christmas doesn’t come without its Santa sack of snags. Christmas can be a time of feuding, fraudulence and burnt turkey. An over-commercialized time filled with eye-insulting jumpers, crappy presents and penniless pockets.
Have I always been a Christmas Scrooge? No, not always.
Many, many moons ago…
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring …except for an over-excited six-year-old girl by the name of Amanda.
Once upon a time, Christmas was my favourite time of year. I would eagerly count down the days until Christmas Eve finally arrived. When this fateful night came, I would sit up in my bed and peer out of the window in search for Santa and his reindeer’s.
Binoculars in my arms, I fell sound asleep – despite the desperate attempts of trying to stay awake – before I even caught sight of Father Christmas. But this didn’t matter, I knew he was real because he’d taken a bite out of his mince pie and finished off the sherry! He’d also managed to knock over the Christmas tree. Perhaps that sherry went straight to his head?
Come Christmas Day, I’d wake at the crack of dawn to find a mountain of presents, screaming “Open me! Open me!” 5 minutes later, all my presents were open and I sighed to myself “What now?”
Amongst my favourite Christmas presents, were a pair of Troll roller-skates, a Sesame Street typewriter and a fortune tellers crystal ball. Yes, you heard me correctly. I said a fortune-teller’s crystal ball! Okay, okay, it wasn’t made of crystal, it was actually made of plastic. But it could, however, tell my future fortunes. Okay, okay… It didn’t do that either. As it turned out, I didn’t marry Peter Andre, nor did I become a famous magician.
An intuitive genius of an 8-year-old (yes, that would be me!) made the discovery that this dubious Santa Claus dude couldn’t possibly be real. I mean, how could a man of such proportions be able to physically fit down our rather small chimney? And whoever heard of a flying sleigh? But wait, if he ate so many mince pies in one night, surely he’d be bigger than a house and simply unable to float in the air?
“Santa isn’t real, is he?”
Those five words us parents dread, but on the other hand, jump with joy. I mean, being Santa is hard work and man is that beard itchy!
After discovering Santa wasn’t real, Christmas wasn’t the same again. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not all Bah humbug, but there are just a few things that send me…CRACKERS!
Allow me to explain why…
10 Things I Hate About Christmas
Tis the season to be… Bankrupt!
How does the song go? It’s the most wonderful…scrap that, it’s the most EXPENSIVE time of the year! Unless you are super organised or exceptionally rich, then Christmas can become rather pricey. The children demand expensive games consoles and gadgets, because y’know, Santa will bring them whatever they want, providing they have been good this year.
That old bribery trick totally backfired…
And consequently, us parents have to dig a little deeper into those pockets to buy our little sweethearts half the contents of the Argos catalogue.
Oh, how we HATE that Argos book! But luckily they don’t sell pet monkeys!
We wouldn’t mind, but this jolly plump fellow named Santa takes ALL the credit, and all we get is a severe case of spender’s remorse.
Not only are the presents expensive, but the high-in-quality Christmas shop has set us back at least a month in rent. We couldn’t possibly give the mother-in-law sausages on sticks, could we? No! Nothing but the finest, most succulent Turkey will do, along with, caviar and champagne on tap!
Our pockets are empty, we will need to live on beans on toast for the next six months…but it’s okay because we had a jolly good Christmas!
Tis the season to …stress over buying gifts!
For those of us who wait until the last seconds to get gifts, this can become a panic-stricken, running-around-like-headless-chicken type of event. Rushing around the shopping centre while trying to find anything we can get our hands on, is not an enjoyable experience. We don’t give a flying Santa if they like it or not, as long as it’s SOMETHING. Three basketfuls of plastic tat later, and we are well and truly done.
Come Christmas Day, we all sit down to open our presents.
“Ooo, a pair of handerpants! Thanks, Gran. These are just what I’ve always wanted!”, we say with fake smiles.
Image courtesy of http://newheroproject.com/
And so another pointless, unwanted gift gets placed upon the pile of other pointless, unwanted gifts. Is it me, or is it beginning to look like the a junk-yard in here?
With gift buying, comes competition…and so a game of BATTLE OF THE GIFTS commences.
It takes me back to this time when I bought my husband an electric toothbrush. I was pretty satisfied with my tooth-polishing purchase. It was relatively high-spec in electric toothbrush stakes. But in charges dearest mother-in-law with her immaculately wrapped Christmas present, which just so happened to be – you guessed it – a toothbrush. Only, this wasn’t any toothbrush! This was an all-singing-all-dancing, too-many-buttons-to-know-what-to-do-with, top of the range toothbrush! As my husband smiled a – this is the toothbrush of my dreams – smile, I longed for the ground to come and swallow me up. “If only I bought him the antibacterial titanium 3000” I sighed, glaring green-eyed at my husband’s new toothbrush.
But it didn’t stop there! Oh, no! What should have been a pleasant afternoon unwrapping presents became a game of ‘Anything you can do, I can do it better’. And so that broken record span on, until my husband yelled “For the love of GOD, will you two just stop? I have double of everything, and all I wanted was a game of FIFA!”
But the toothbrush battle was nothing compared to the following scenario…
Last year, my husband and I looked deep inside our pockets to no avail and agreed NOT to buy gifts for each other that year. I kept my pact but my sneak of a husband had been busy doing a spot of online shopping! Come Christmas Day, my husband revealed a mountain of presents, from laptops to sexy lingerie. The excitement soon turned to guilt, as I looked at him looking at me with that so-where’s-my-present expression.
Me: So yeah, I really didn’t get you anything this year!
Husband: Oh, it’s okay… *Stares sorrowfully at his empty stocking*
3: Wrapping presents
Tis the season to … get in a flap over the present wrapping!
Present wrapping is not my strong point. Some people take the art of wrapping very seriously, with their corners of precision, made-from-scratch name tags and fancy bows. And then there’s me, Mrs Amateur. Mrs I-can’t-really-be-arsed. My present wrapping skills can be likened to those of a toddler. Always at war with a sticky tape that keeps losing its end, but will quite happily stick to my hair, nose and tongue!
And don’t get me started on those awkward presents! As I stick down the final flap of the present, I feel a sense of satisfaction and glee…until I accidentally puncture a peephole through the side. “Well, that ruins the surprise!” I grumble to myself, applying tape, after tape, after tape (what would we do without our trusty tape?) to the wound.
Only three presents down and I have already lost the scissors a dozen times over and spent a total of 45 minutes on my hands and knee’s searching for them.
No matter how long the wrapping paper is (Now, I’m sure I purchased the extra-long roll!) it’s never long enough. It’s always a pesky centimetre too short for those slippers we need to wrap up, and no matter how small I try to scrunch them up, it doesn’t quite cover. “YOU WILL FIT!” I mutter to myself, impatiently. I’m afraid to say, that you can chop those slippers in half and you’ll still struggle to cover them in that wrapping paper!
All these flaps are getting me in a flap, and if I lose these scissors one more time I’m going to plastic bag every one of these damn presents! And no, they won’t look pretty, but heck! I am beginning to lose the will, my lips are now stuck to my nose and surely it’s the thought that counts!
4: Christmas Decorations
Tis the season to… fight over the Christmas decorations!
Every DAMN year the same old scene unfolds. As the box of decorations comes out, so do the tears, trials and tantrums. I swear the more children you have the more arguments there will be! We made the ‘what we assumed to be wise’ decision to buy two trees this year. One real and one fake. Now, most kids would jump at the chance to decorate the real Christmas tree – not my kids! My kids wanted to decorate the same damn artificial tree! As one could imagine, this ended up in a fight, briefly followed by tears and one sulky-faced child marching to her room. After an argument about who was going to put the all-important star on top of the tree, almost electrocuting myself with a dodgy string of lights and a near death experience involving a toppling tree, I began to recall just how much I loathe putting up the Christmas decorations.
Three hours later, my tree looked like a unicorn had sneezed rainbows over it! The colour co-ordination was giving me an eye-ache, so as soon as the kids were in bed, the obsessive compulsive I am, spent the rest of the evening rearranging baubles while getting pricked, scratched and tickled by that evil tree!
And then there’s the dreaded hoovering. Hoovering up to ten times a day to prevent our poor tootsies from resembling that of a porcupine! Damn pines!
I don’t care about those tree snobs out there, next year we are going FAKE all the way!
5: Christmas jumpers
Tis the season to …wear the most ghastly Christmas jumpers!
What’s Christmas without a cheerful eye-offending Christmas jumper? As much as these jumpers make my eyes weep, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without them! Once you have experienced the Christmas jumper, there’s no going back! Before you know it, the whole family have climbed onboard the woolly-wagon and those Christmas portraits look ever more cringe worthy…
I don’t know which one hurts my eyes the most? The Christmas bell and Mistletoe combo, or the matching Santa’s?
6: The office party
Tis the season to … make a fool out of oneself at the office party!
Is it that time of year already? It only seems like yesterday when we were recollecting the drunken memories of last year’s office party. Some embarrassing dancing, flashing our underwear …and did we dance on a desk? *Shudder*
As we try to sweep last year’s embarrassments underneath the office rug, we contemplate why we hate it so much…
Perhaps it’s the forced awkward conversations we have to participate in, when all we want to do is get drunk and be merry. Or maybe it’s the overly-confident co-worker breakdancing on the Dancefloor?…
Yes, the same co-worker who will later be carried out via stretcher when she does herself a serious back injury! No doubt an unexpected person will get drunk and make a scene, and as we knock back the shots to try and blot out the pain of being at such an establishment, that person will most likely be ourselves.
7: Pretending to be Santa
Tis the reason to …tell barefaced lies to our children!
We’ve been caught ‘glitter handed’ over the tooth fairy fib, but we are still clinging onto the Santa story by the hairs of our fuzzy white beards. How much longer can we pull off such an elaborate lie?
A round-bellied, white-bearded man who flies through the air on a one-horse open sleigh, shouting HO HO HO! Trespassing via people’s chimneys to give out presents from his magical MaryPoppins-esque sack, that just so happens to accommodate the present’s of children across the ENTIRE world.
The older the child gets, the more suspicious they become and the more questions they throw our way. As a last resort, we get our partner to dress up as him and jump down the chimney!
8: Cooking Christmas dinner
Tis the season to … get hot and flustered in the kitchen!
I am no Nigella of the kitchen. In fact, my food usually ends up either undercooked or overcooked. The latter is more common. So it will come as no surprise that I avoid cooking the Christmas dinner at all costs.
“I’m not feeling well”, “I have a headache”, and “I feel faint”, are among many of the untruths I have told to avoid cooking.
Cooking dinner can be a stressful affair. Firstly, there’s the Christmas food shop. This almost always ends in a tug of war in the meat aisle.
TWO MINUTES LATER …
Once we have rugby tackled said turkey into our desperate hands, we have to take it home and prepare it. Anything that involves shoving my hand up an arse, and I’m out of that kitchen quicker my cooking goes up in smoke!
A little tipsy on the wine, I absent-mindedly neglect my kitchen duties, and later watch my beautiful turkey flare up into flames.
Unfazed, I say, “Sausages on a stick, anyone?”
After Christmas dinner, we are faced with …
The husband looks on, and says, “I could help with all this washing up, but I think I’ll put my feet up in front of the fire and watch football instead!”
9: Piling on the pounds
Tis the season to … put on half your body in weight!
The Christmas season is upon us, which means we can kiss sweet goodbye to our healthy diets and exercise regimes, and say hello to our old friend, muffin top!
Come November, the first box of chocolates is opened to reveal those too-delicious-to-say-no-to, colourfully wrapped delights. From the moment I laid my eyes on them, they were mine, and I, theirs. An on-going relationship that was bittersweet. As much as I loved the sweet chocolate goodness, I didn’t love the extra squish around my midriff. I’m beginning to resemble those caramel barrels I have been scoffing. But how can one say no when there are over-indulgents just about EVERYWHERE I turn. From the Candy canes hanging on the tree to the piping hot Christmas pudding mum just took out of the oven, and not forgetting Christmas Day itself. Oh yes! Christmas is the crème de la crème of shoving our faces in that sweet Christmassy goodness, guilt free, until we get half way through the day and find ourselves nursing an upset stomach. “Why did I eat so damn much?” we groan. Mulled wine in hand, we fall asleep by the blazing fire just like our grandparents used to do. <- Surely, the best thing about Christmas?
10: Family wars
Tis the season to … battle with our loved ones!
Christmas is the ONLY time of year we have to tolerate those pesky relatives we never visit any other time of the year. Whether it’s an uncle with a screw lose or an over-loving aunt, we try to avoid conversation at all cost, whilst get so drunk on the wine, we no longer care. The only problem is, once the alcohol starts flowing…so do the disputes and meaningless rows. It’s like we’ve got front row seats at the Jeremy Kyle show, as all hell break lose and the cheery Christmas music is replaced with screaming, shouting and flying profaneness. Let’s play a game of ‘What happened to the Christmas cheer?’
Was it lost over…
A: Ownership of the remote control?
B: Mum’s burnt dinner?
C: Who should do the washing up?
Or D: Cheating on a game of Charades?
As It turns out, it was none of the above. It was over which Christmas movie to watch. Look’s like we’re watching Home Alone, again!
5 hours later, everyone is too merry on the sherry to give two…errr…sloshed Santa’s!
Let’s wrap it up!
It’s impossible to recapture the childhood joy that comes with Christmas. Once we find out it was, in fact, our parents munching those mince pies and drinking all the sherry, Christmas loses its sense of magic. But even though we are on the brink of bankruptcy and we’re rounder around the middle, we haven’t completely converted to Grinchood. We secretly enjoyed unwrapping our not-so-desired presents, we even smiled a little when crazy uncle Bill did his Christmas dance, and heck, we may have even stifled a laugh during a game of Charades. And sure, we burnt the dinner and perhaps our wrapping skills/gift buying need a little tweaking, but Christmas isn’t about presents and eating until our bellies go pop – It’s about spreading good cheer and spending time with the ones we love. It’s about caring and sharing, and celebrating whatever it is we believe in.