Comment Column Road

It’s (already) beginning to look a lot like Christmas

This week, the first of the year’s Christmas adverts have been unveiled. Whilst you were busy scrubbing the fake blood off your neck and wondering how long you can leave that pumpkin to rot in the kitchen before it gets really, REALLY gross, Christmas has been sneaking up behind you.

The earliest advert of the year is a real cracker: it comes from Lidl and is probably one of the most brilliant Christmas advertisements I’ve seen. Rather than making me cry (I’m looking at you John Lewis), the ‘Lidl School of Christmas’ brings valuable festive lessons to its audience on the best way to deal with the not-so-perfect aspects of the big day. Skills everybody needs to brush up on; how to disentangle Christmas tree lights, how to make a textbook left-over sandwich, and most notably how to feign pleasure at a shit present from your Nan. It serves to make me eager for every aspect of Christmas, including my mother being unapproachable until dinner has been served and those whole-family arguments that literally happen every single year because you’re forced to hang out with each other for the entire day.

This weekend also will reveal the new John Lewis advert. Celebrated for being just the most delightful entity in the whole world ever, and making you absolutely adore John Lewis, even if, like me, you have no idea what they sell in there. We can expect to see an adorable creature – maybe a fluffy animal who is lonely or miserable, or perhaps a small child who is much nicer and less sticky than any four-year old we’ve ever seen. This cutie will embark on their emotional journey to a tune you’re sure you recognise from a few years ago, but slowed down and sang in a soft and raspy voice by someone much more sugary than the original artist. Prepare to be reduced to tears and prepare to be asked 900 times if you’ve seen it, but I have no doubt it will be wonderful, if not perhaps a little sickly.

Christmas is my favourite time of year; I really, really love it. It brings out the world’s most annoying people, including me. Those people who play Michael Buble Christmas songs on repeat, all day, every day (me). Those people who call it ‘crimbo’ make me want to smash my head repeatedly against the mantelpiece. Those people who get ‘early Christmas presents’ constantly in the festive run up (wtf), and those people who insist on uploading a picture of their Christmas dinner to social media (titled ‘thanks mum!’) even though it looks really, really shit.

For many students, including myself, getting excited for Christmas as early as possible is unpreventable. It is less about presents and pretty lights, but more about going home to a warm house, a decent meal, and reuniting with your family and your pet for the first time in months.

Of course, as with anything, there are people who go potentially a little overboard. Putting up your tree during the first week of November is a little bizarre, listening to festive music all summer is weird and I don’t think I’ll ever understand the thinking behind ‘Christmas spice’ scented bleach. Not forgetting the individuals who wear their snowman woolly jumper and tinsel headband for weeks in advance (usually the same type of people who refer to it as ‘crimbo’). That said, as aggravating as you may find these individuals, the excitement doesn’t harm anyone. If you want to celebrate Christmas from April – go ahead.

The argument is that this Christmas craze is led by consumerism. Forwarded by retailers who just want to suck as much money as possible from us, as early as possible, and this puts pressure on parents (and just about everybody else) to spend. This may be true. However, for every person who suggests November is too early to start preparing, there will be another who wants to do their shopping in advance and buy their presents as early as possible. In my eyes, nobody is forcing you to do your shopping this month. If you don’t want to, then don’t.

Having explored online polls on this debate, the general consensus was that before December is too early to begin getting excited. However one comment struck me. “There’s no way that Christmas can live up to the expectations that the media builds up.” This made me sad. It shouldn’t be about that. Christmas shouldn’t be about having a perfectly cooked dinner or having perfect presents or spending lots of money to make the day perfect. It’s about being with people you love or celebrating religion, or simply enjoying a break.

What is the harm in looking forward to a celebration that brings together family and friends? I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get that inexplicable fuzzy feeling when they see Love Actually on the television or the spicy smell of steaming hot mulled wine and oven-fresh, crumbly mince pies. There’s no excitement quite like driving in the dark at Christmas time, rolling past twinkling lights and sparkly Christmas trees in the windows.

It’s only one day – let us have at least a month to get excited. Christmas is always over far quicker than we’d like and before you know it, and it’s back to work/school/university in the dark and cold with nothing to look forward to. So watch the advertisements (but don’t be fooled by them!), eat the mince pies, sing the songs, wear the jumpers and just enjoy it, because it really is the most wonderful time of the year.

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