What is it about a season of goodwill that seems to bring out the exact opposite in people? From people in the streets breaking new grounds in sheer ignorance, to children so out of control they shouldn’t even be allowed out of doors, to people behind the wheel who think they’re on some kind of demolition derby or race, to people in the shops buying enough food to see them through a major natural disaster…for a time of year that seems to place so much emphasis on being nice to one another and taking the time to appreciate what we have in our lives, it seems to do a hell of a good job bringing out the ruthless arsehole in many people. MCF, Kelly, Wendy, all take heart: your experiences with the Christmas horde are not unique and you do not suffer alone!
Today I bought my last ever Christmas present, with such a look of relief on my face that I think the girl behind the till thought I was falling in love with her or something. Last night I endured the hell that is shopping at a mall open till midnight as I tried (and failed) to pick up a copy of Brideshead Revisited on DVD for my better half. Over the past few weeks I have seen the slowly reduced level of general manners, the incredibly fast rise of tempers and if nothing else it has really made me enjoy and appreciate quiet nights in.
That said, I am getting wound down now, am about to get into my second glass of wine, the tree is decorated and I have decided to have a go at the Christmas meme that’s doing the rounds, so here we go…
1. Hot Chocolate or apple cider?
I’d go for apple cider, because I always find hot chocolate to be a little bit sickly. Okay so too much cider also leaves you feeling sick but at least you get to go through the fun “I’m pissed” part first.
2. Turkey or Ham?
Oh, neither. I think that turkey is so over-rated as a Christmas meal – you see all these pictures of it and it always looks golden brown and that it would taste fantastic, but it never matches up. As for ham it just never appealed to me. Now a curry, there is a meal for Christmas!
3. Do you get a Fake or Real “you cut it yourself” christmas tree?
Fake all the way baby. Every year we have the same fight about how to build the base for the fucking thing, and every year I manage to snag at least one fingertip the same way. The tree itself is totally fake, I think about the closest it gets to nature is it’s annual offering of some of the blood from my nipping fingers.
4. Decorations on the outside of your house?
No, I really don’t like them to be honest. Some of the people around here have their places lit up bright enough to be seen from Pluto and to be honest I think it’s a bit tacky. One or two lights here and there can look excellent, but people who try to fit in enough lightbulbs to rival Disneyland just end up coming off as looking a bit rubbish.
5. Snowball fights or sleddin?
Snowballs! Snowballs! Reminds me of that old joke about the difference between a snowman and a snow-woman…
6. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping?
I enjoy a walk around the shops yeah, but not at Christmas. I’m no saint but I like to think I can be quite polite, and seeing people trample one another and not even apologise pushes all the wrong buttons for me.
7. Favorite Christmas song?
Hmmm…well I would like to go for Slade’s “Merry Christmas” for some cheesy 1970s rock. The minute I hear that song I’m suddenly 6 again, all excited at the prospect of Santa coming down the chimney.
8. How do you feel about Christmas movies?
Can do without them to be honest, they tend to be overly sugary for my tastes. Except for “It’s a Wonderful Life” of course, that’s a masterpiece second only to “Transformers: The Movie” in my eyes.
9. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music?
Any time before December 13th. If by tradition it’s too early to put up the tree then it’s too damn soon to play music. Even Slade.
10. Stockings before or after presents?
We don’t do stockings, but I tend to do little “extra” presents before the main stuff I’ve gotten for people.
11. Carolers, do you or do you not watch and listen to them?
Oh, I would watch and listen. In fact I did so a few days ago in Glasgow and it was all great stuff.
12. Go to someone elses house or they come to you?
This being my first year as an engaged man, we are going together to my family’s house, and then over to my fiance’s family a few days later. Next year we switch it about. I don’t mind travelling on Christmas day.
13. Do you read the Christmas Story? If so when?
I don’t really read the Christmas story I’m afraid. Closest I come is watching Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” on Christmas eve every now and again.
14. What do you do after presents and dinner?
I tend to find a quiet spot, get a drink, and read. I love Christmas: I love the presents, I love the kids getting excited, I love everything about it no matter how curmudgeonly I might sound, but it can get on top of me and I need a quiet hour or so just to recharge the old batteries. Of course this year I think that after presents and dinner I might be curled up on the couch watching the Doctor Who special.
15. What is your favorite holiday smell?
Hmmmm…..fresh, cold, winter air. My fiance’s hair. My nana’s soup. A nice glass of wine. Cinnamon.
16. Ice skating or walking around the mall?
The last time I went ice skating I fell on the ice with enough force that my knee was hurt and two men had to carry me to the first aid room, so I think I would go with the walk around the mall, even if it means I have to go shoulder to shoulder with all the ignorant bastards of the world.
17. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas day?
I’m INCREDIBLY tempted to open them on Christmas eve but I like to wait till Christmas morning.
18. Favorite Christmas memory?
All of my childhood ones were fantastic and I’ll be forever grateful to my parents for working so hard, sacrificing so much and giving me such memories, but I’m hoping that tomorrow morning will be my favourite Christmas memory. The first year I wake up in the morning with the woman I’m going to marry. The woman that I’ll be married to by this time next year. If you think I’m starting to sound a bit repetitive I’m sorry, but believe me as we approach the wedding someone’s going to have to sedate me if they want me to shut up about it.
19. Favorite Part about winter?
The cold. I love the cold and I can’t stand being too warm. My mum tells me that when I was born there was deep snow outside and the heating in the labour room broke down, so maybe that has something to do with it, but I have always loved being slightly more cold than I have being warm.
20. Ever been kissed under mistletoe?
Nope. Never been kissed under the mistletoe, touched besides the trifles or even goosed by the turkey.
Santa. Come on big man, if you’re reading this, let’s hear what you have to say.
Merry Christmas one and all – have a safe and happy time of it no matter what you end up doing.