A hatred of Christmas music, inappropriate uses for parental taxi services, and survival tips for Christmas. Because sometimes just surviving is enough.
I bloody hate Christmas music. It’s so happy and jolly and twee and fucking pleased with itself. Christ, I’m off to a good start, aren’t I? I should make it clear that I don’t hate Christmas, at least, not entirely. But Christmas music can fuck right off. It’s easily the worst bit. That said, I’m not huge on Christmas all over, to be honest.
I’ve already mentioned how the long dark of winter gets inside my head and messes with my brain, and Christmas sometimes doesn’t help that.
I go back home to my parents in the country for a week, which is lovely, there’s tons of food and I can sleep. You can’t trust anyone who claims that sitting on their arse and eating their bodyweight in Terry’s Chocolate Orange isn’t the dream.
It’s the obligations around Christmas that I find really wearing. There are some more personal traditions, like my mum waking me up by jumping on my bed at 7am on Christmas morning, which I quite enjoy. This, by the way, is her way of getting revenge for all the years when my brother and I were little, and would wake her and my dad up at 5am on Christmas morning, because we were excited, and buggered if we were going to wait three more hours…
It’s obligations like work parties, or family gatherings.
Does anyone really like the socialising aspect of Christmas? Office christmas parties where you’re forced to spend even more time with the same people you see every day, including those girls who get so excited they have to shout ‘woo’ every few minutes or they’ll explode. Or the family get-togethers where you have to spend time listening to older relatives talking about how they’re sad to see all the bad press Nigel Farage gets, just because he “tells it like it is”.
And that’s before Uncle Dickhead shows up pissed and starts blowing up condoms and pretending they’re balloons. Does every family have an Uncle Dickhead? I bet some don’t. Those poor bastards won’t know the joy of being taught at 5 years old that whenever you order chinese food, you need to do so in the strongest, most racist Chinese accent you can manager “Otherwise they’ll be really offended, like, you’re not respecting their culture.”
Here’s a pro tip for forced socialising: Go easy on the booze. Don’t get blind drunk just because it’s free and make a tit of yourself. Best case, everyone else is too drunk to remember, which is possible but unlikely. Worst case, you get cut out of the will and/or called into a private room for A Little Chat with HR. For example.
You could just not go, of course, but nobody has the time for the hassle that comes from saying “Thanks, but I don’t want to spend any more time with you than is necessary, especially if there’s a chance that third gin might loosen my tongue and you find out what I really think of you.” or words to that effect.
So, yeah, I don’t leave the house much at Christmas. Why would I? There’s wifi and all the food is in here with me. The only thing I’m lacking is sexy times, but there’s no public transport in the countryside over Christmas, and I’d feel weird getting my mum to give me a lift to a Grindr tart’s house for a hookup. I mean, I’m going to need a ride home again afterwards, so it seems stupid to let her drive away to then have to come back for me once I’m done...
But at the same time I don’t want to think of her sitting out in the car while I’m trying to get sexy with a boy. That would put anyone off their stroke.
Got the lube, got the condoms, mum grab your thermos and the sudoku book - we’re off to get me some dick!
Speaking of, being single at Christmas can be a real pain. Another Christmas tip, though: However low and miserable you get, don’t text your ex to say Merry Christmas in the hope that you’ll spark up a conversation and realise what a great time you had together and maybe give things another go. Speaking as someone who has tried this tactic literally hundreds of times, it never works and just comes off as desperate. Chances are, if they liked having conversations with you, they would still be doing it, Christmas or not. So, yeah, just don’t.
Being single doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Not even at Christmas, no matter what awful films with Christmas tie-ins and really creepy attempts at ‘romance’ might tell you. Thinking of you, Love Actually. Emma Thompson is the only good thing about that film.
Anyway, once more for the people at the back, it’s ok to be single at Christmas. And the rest of the year, too, come to that. I have to remind myself of this, too, so I know it’s not easy.
And on top of all of this, there’s fucking Christmas music telling us how we should all be jolly and happy and… And sometimes you’re not. It can take a lot of years to realise that it’s ok to not automatically feel happy and jolly at Christmas. We all get miserable sometimes. We all have down days, or low periods, and sometimes those are at the same time as this midwinter festival of commercialism and gluttony, and that has to be ok.
You don’t have to be happy at Christmas. And you don’t have to suffer in silence, either. If you’re miserable, talk to someone. Even if it’s a stranger.
The Samaritans are always available, and you can text them rather than call if you’d like, too. And there’s even apps and web chat services and things like that, too.
Christ, if you really want, you can tweet me - @unlikelylad. I’m not much of a listener - I mean, I literally write a podcast by myself so I wouldn’t have to deal with other people if I didn’t want to - but I can tell dick jokes and argue with you about whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie or not. And that’s better than nothing.
In fact, if you’re listening to this, then you’ve already survived the shortest day of the year. Spring is coming, the days are starting to get longer and you’re still here. Sometimes just getting through it is enough. Surviving is a feat that needs celebrating, so hold on.
To reiterate my original point, fuck Noddy Holder. (Not literally, though. Urgh.) Fuck Paul McFuckingCartney. (again, urgh.)
You don’t have to be happy and joyful at Christmas. You don’t even have to pretend to be. Just don’t feel pressured into being silent about it. Things don’t get better unless we work at them, and talking to someone, anyone, about how you feel is a big first step.
So, yeah. Have a Christmas. And don’t beat yourself up if it’s not a merry one.
Incidentally, my friends at the Broad Appeal podcast just did a great episode pulling Love Actually apart and talking about their love for Emma Thompson - I recommend giving it a listen. Just search Broad Appeal wherever you get this podcast from.