As I write this, it’s the first of December and the countdown is ON. Actually, I lie. It’s been on for weeks, but now – for the Christmas haters at least – it’s acceptable to decorate the tree, defrost the Bublé, and crack open the Quality Street.
Rebecca loves Christmas so much she can’t help but dress up as Santa!
I was the first of my siblings to stop believing in Father Christmas at the age of around 8 or 9, but it didn’t halt or hinder my obsession with the big bearded man and all things festive. Because, I believe that no matter your religion, your marital status, or your holiday persuasion, there is nothing better than this time of year.
My younger brother was actually born on Christmas Day. As the first arrival, he made the front page of the local papers and the nativity display at the hospital (yes, really). I don’t remember seeing the Salvation Army sing around him, but I do remember the atmosphere, the excitement and the stocking at the end of my mum’s bed.
From then on I only remember happy memories. The sheer excitement, the electric atmosphere. Never-ending chocolate. Writing to Father Christmas. School plays. And so, so much joy.
My local council isn’t funding Christmas lights throughout the high streets this year, and yet the villages and towns have raised the cash themselves to decorate the areas with trees, lights and lanterns, turning each into an event with carol singing.
My local hair salon is promoting random acts of kindness. My friends have been packing up shoe boxes full of toys for children in need. Collecting for the homeless. Soup kitchens. Pubs offering free meals to the lonely and elderly on Christmas Day. Coat collections at work. The list goes on. Nothing brings a community together like Christmas. And it feels amazing.
There’s no time of year when you can acceptably eat 73 meals a day, enjoy chocolate and cocktails for breakfast and wear an abundance of sequins. The more the merrier and the merrier the Christmas. Ignore the silly guilt that comes in January (we’re looking at you, fitness DVDs and detox programmes). At Christmas, food and bubbles are about togetherness, love and enjoyment. As for the sequins… why not?
Music. But make it Christmassy. Add some bells, a snowy music video and you’ve got yourself a winner.
Few make it into the festive hits hall of fame, but those that have make for merriment for years to come. My parents can recall memories from their own Christmases when certain songs are played.
When the first chimes of Last Christmas play, it symbolises the beginning of the festive period and a month of all the above. And don’t even get me started on Mariah.
Teaching my baby nieces and nephews the names of the reindeer. Elf on the Shelf. Friends reuniting. Pub lunches. Work lunches. Grottos. Gifts. A rogue Christmas card. Panto. Panettone. The Queen’s Speech. London lights. Snowman pyjamas. The Muppet Christmas Carol. The list goes on.
Few things can bring as much joy as this time of year. When work comes second and fun comes first. When self-care doesn’t seem so far down the list and worries seem to fade. When family time is unavoidable (a good thing) and wishes might just come true.
For many, this is a time of year that can be incredibly hard. Illness, loss, heartache, homelessness. For some, it’s not even a holiday to celebrate. But there’s no denying its positive impact. I love it. I will continue to spread Christmas cheer. And wear my snowman pyjamas all year round.
I will leave you with the poetry of Slade…