Oh not again. We did this last year! ‘Tis the season to be jolly.
Well, for a start off I am pretty jolly most of the year.
I don’t need to be told when to feel it and thereby hangs the crux of the matter.
Here follows an interview with a good friend and fellow writer who prefers to be known simply as DH.
So here goes.
DH: What do you mean you loathe Christmas? How, why?
Helen: What do you mean how? It’s what I feel and as to why, well, it’s the same thing every year. Boring!
DH: Boring? A time of colourful celebration. New life…Oh. Is it a religion thing?
DH: What then?
Helen: It’s about the repetiveness. Same old, same old…
DH: I’m still not getting why you object to such a jolly time?
Helen: *groans* Let me put it another way.
DH: Please do…
Helen: I mean you wouldn’t read the same book and watch the same film at the same time every year, would you?
Helen : Well, yes a bad example. People do, don’t they. White Christmas. The same bloody tunes…Argh! But also highlights my point.
Helen: Yes. We have the Cannes film festival every May BUT there is always a different theme not to mention different films. It just wouldn’t work otherwise would it? No one would bother turning up.
DH: Ah but that’s different.
DH: Because Cannes is all about creating new stories. Not to mention being a huge commercial event.
Helen: Ha! And Christmas isn’t? You walked right into that one.
DH: Well, yes I take your point.
Helen: Ok. Let’s step back a moment. You asked why I am bored with Christmas.
Helen: It just isn’t for me. It’s personal. It would be like asking me to live in the same place all my life or have the same friends or drive the same car or have the same lovers or eat the same food…you are going to mention turkey aren’t you?!
DH: Hang on, you think having the same friends all your life is bad thing?
Helen: Well, yes. I mean some friends have been around for quite a while but it doesn’t mean you can’t have news ones throughout your life. To be honest, I see this as quite a problem amongst the elderly. They have the same friends of a similar age throughout their lives and then they all start dying at about the same time. You’ve gone quiet?
DH: It all seems so calculating…
Helen: What? Wanting to meet new people, make new friends of all ages. You see that as a bad thing?
DH: Oh, no. I guess not. So, back to Christmas.
Helen: Must we? *smiling* okay. I have to admit the holidays I have a problem with, all have their roots in religion. That’s why they are the same old, same old every year. At least with summer holidays most people do something different don’t they?
DH: So this is more about freedom of choice?
Helen: Always. I find the repetition (oh have I said that before) of Christmas boring but even more recently (in the last 12 years) I haven’t been able to cope with the crass commercialism of it all. And this year more than ever we have over the top competition bombarding us.
DH: The supermarket adverts?
Helen: You got it.
DH: Agree with you on that one.
Helen: This isn’t about competition.
DH: Come again?
Helen: I am not keeping score. Ooh, he agrees with me on that one. 2-1. So far.
DH: So why do this interview?
Helen: Because I wonder if others feel the same pressure about conforming to this yuletide extravaganza, year, after year, after…
DH: Go on…
Helen: People go into debt over the Christmas period more than any other time of year.
DH: You know this for a fact or just…
Helen: Yep, made it up but I bet I’m right ( 1 more point to me 😉
DH: There is undoubtedly a lot of pressure, especially if you have kids.
Helen: Look I know it can be a lovely time for children but how many people really can’t participate to the extent that they feel they should?
Helen: Peer pressure can be as simple as someone saying, ‘Bah humbug’.
DH: Ah c’mon don’t say that upsets you?
Helen: Me? No, it doesn’t. I don’t take it personally.
DH: So would you prefer we never had Christmas?
Helen: No. I would prefer if people felt they had a choice. Not to feel stressed by it all. If you find it fun then great. Fantastic, carry on.
DH: You okay, you look sad all of a sudden?
Helen: Yeah. I was just remembering Lynda Bellingham saying how she would have loved just one more Christmas…
DH: Ah yes, I see. But surely you enjoyed Christmas as a kid? When did it all change?
Helen: Sure, Christmas was okay up until…I don’t know when exactly.
DH: Did something awful happen one Christmas. Is that something you relate to…?
Helen: Actually I was thinking about being married.
DH: Erm…aren’t we going off subject a little here?
Helen: Not really. When I think back I felt about being married the same way as I do about Christmas.
DH: I think you are going to have to explain that a little better…
Helen: They are both about conforming. Going along with whatever is expected. The norm. Ha!
DH: I can see that would be a problem.
Helen: In the early days, of being married I mean, I thought I have it all now. The husband who was a good friend. We both had our own careers. A car each. Two holidays a year and we shopped at Waitrose. Not having children was a huge issue but not one I am prepared to discuss and had nothing to do with why we got divorced….
Helen: Yes, sorry. This all relates to Christmas in a very simple way. When I was happily (not being sarcastic) married I was desperately sad to discover that I didn’t like it.
DH: Like it?
Helen: Yes the institution of marriage. Co-habiting. Being asked. ‘When will you be ready?’ ‘ Where have you been? ‘You going to wear that?’ Etc etc
Helen: Conforming to the norm. Being happy with what society deemed at the time –the 1970’s-to be the norm. I loathed it. And believe me I tried to conform. Dinner parties, neighbourhood watch, bbqs etc.
DH: Sounds like hell…
Helen: Funny. I know. So you see my predicament.
DH: Yoo vant be alone?
Helen: Even funnier…
DH: Okay, sorry.
Helen: You know I do get it. Other people love order, stability and routine. All that stuff in their lives. I just don’t.
DH: So variety is the spice of life for you?
DH: The rebel with a cause?
Helen: You are talking to the girl who left school one week early ( soon as my exams were finished) with my cassette player on my shoulder-they were huge in those days- cassette players, not my shoulders) playing at full volume, The Animals. We Gotta Get Out Of This Place.
DH: You were not head girl then?
Helen: No but I was brilliant at practical jokes…
DH: So, in conclusion. You wouldn’t dislike Christmas so much if only they would change the theme. Play different songs. Tell a different story?
Helen: Something like that. At least the Aussies have the good sense to have it the middle of summer.
DH: Do they sing, Away on a Surfboard? We three Stellas? Oh little Star of Brisbane?
Helen: Now you are just being silly.
DH: So. You off to start your Christmas shopping?
Helen: Nope. That was the ‘12 years ago’ reference that you didn’t pick up on…
DH: *mouths –shoot me now*
Helen: Tempting. No. I give the money I would have spent on adult Christmas presents to a children’s charity that goes towards their education.
DH: All year round?
Helen: Now you get it.
DH: Does that mean I win?
Helen: *This comment has been removed by the moderator*
N.B. I am the moderator but for once couldn’t think of a clever reply. But don’t tell DH.