The cards have been in the shops for two months now. The shops are clogged with amateurs and there are a lot of tacky flashing things emerging. Yes, it’s the least wonderful time of the year: Christmas.

Apparently you’re not allowed to dislike it and to not celebrate makes you mean and grumpy. There are even special words for it like Scrooge and Grinch (I hate you Dr Seuss and Charlie Dickens for that). I’m far from mean or miserable although admit to being a bit grumpy at times. It’s kind of odd to me that in a country peopled predominantly with atheists and agnostics we get so hung up over a Christian festival.


One question I’d ask is: what’s in it for me? I always ask this about everything, naturally. I’m a childless atheist, who doesn’t like over eating, am not too struck on the whole family togetherness thing, I don’t drink or eat chocolate and I don’t like shiny sparkly things. I work as a nurse, so time off and having a holiday doesn’t come into it. As for presents, I have a lot of stuff already and call me ungrateful but on the whole I’d rather choose my own stuff. That’s not to say I haven’t received some great presents over the years but generally, I know my own tastes a lot better than you. Personally I’d rather you buy me a present spontaneously and not just because it’s December and someone else’s birthday. The whole present thing is rampant consumerism gone mad with a lot of debt being accrued for essentially worthless stuff.


Oh, I did get a quartet of lovely gifts from my family one year: chocolates, a stilton, red wine and a selection of strong coffees…hello migraines, good bye buying gifts for my thoughtful family who seem to have forgotten everything about me…..including the fact I can’t touch any of the previously mentioned things without being laid up in bed for days. Maybe they wanted some peace from my moaning.


Christmas decorations? I love my house, it’s clean and uncluttered. I don’t want festoons and tinsel. Christmas meals out? Don’t even get me started on the crap they mass produce and peddle in December. Christmas songs? Come on…Slade, Wham and Wizzard? They were never that great. We don’t need them reviving annually, do we?


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I think people assume I’ve had a lot of bad Christmas experiences but that’s not the case. The time my gran had her leg chopped off on Boxing Day wasn’t the best but hey ho…I enjoyed the day more than she did, I think. The time I had flu, the time my ex partner and I decided we’d spend a final Christmas Day together as we were about to split up (was I on crack at the time?) and he got drunk and smacked me one with the tree wasn’t so hot either but we live and learn. At least the fairy lights were off or it could have been nasty. I did get dumped by a bloke I’d been seeing for 4 months at 6pm on Christmas Eve once but hey ho…turned out he wasn’t quite the gentleman he’d been purporting to be and although his timing was bad, in the long run he was certainly no loss.


My main beef with the whole thing is why I can’t make the choice to avoid it. From the first cards appearing in the shops in August to the saturation of all media and being the main subject of conversation everywhere, it’s unavoidable. I’ve tried, believe me. Sadder still are the people who are lonely, sick, bereaved etc who are having all that fake stuff about how everyone else is having a fantastic time rubbed in their faces.


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I actually gave up smoking one year for 9 months and started again on Boxing Day one year as it was driving me so crazy….no excuse, I know. That was a mad thing to do.


I will confess to two things I like about it…The Waitresses singing Christmas Wrapping and the Tim Burton film, “The Nightmare before Christmas” but even so, I’ll be turning off my TV and radio, avoiding shops and restaurants and spending no money at all. Last year I took the opportunity to spend two days catching up on chores and reading in bed. It was bliss. I’ll be the one in January going on jaunts with all the cash I’ve saved avoiding the tackiness whilst you lot wonder why you bothered with it all again and what that was all about. Glad tidings, gays!

About the author: Chris Bridges
Chris is a theatre and book obsessed Midlander who escaped to London. He's usually to be found slumped in a seat in a darkened auditorium.

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