Why I Hate Christmas

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Christmas Starts Earlier Each Year

Ok let’s get this out of the way, I don’t actually hate Christmas. Yes I am outing myself as a liar and I suppose a user of clickbait titles in the first sentence but hear me out, I love Christmas on the actual day and the few days leading up to it, it’s the rest of the time when it irritates me. As a kid, I was never that bothered by December 25th and everything that comes with it but then I joined the big bad world of adulthood and had to start fending for myself. Christmas isn’t as fun when you suddenly have to spend your own money and budget accordingly.

There are a number of things that have made me dislike Christmas over the years. It’s the fact I’ve been forced into listening to the same Christmas music playlist one too many times and that I can’t drive down a nice residential street without neon signs for “Christmas trees” blinding me. It’s the Christmas lights twinkling away around the gutters of someone’s house in the middle of November and it’s the sudden realisation that everyone I have to buy presents for has everything they could ever want or need but social convention dictates I have to get them something. It’s the Secret Santa for people I don’t like, it’s the Christmas cards to people I barely know and it’s because you’ve put on Elf for the 400th time this year.

Despite all of that though, I can just about stomach Christmas until I have to venture into a store to do my weekly food shopping. I’ve almost turned to the luxury of ordering my food shopping online despite the fact Tesco is 5 minutes from my house because I can’t handle the obnoxious amount of Christmas decorations and products plaguing every single aisle. Do we really need an aisle dedicated solely to Christmas chocolate that’s so full to the point where Toblerone practically jump off the shelf and smack you in the face? All I want to do is buy my odd looking sweet potato and get out; I don’t want or need any more tinsel.

The sad reality of my disdain for 3 months of festive crap ruining my already least favourite activity is that Christmas and the months leading up to it are always the biggest push for profits. Last year, the only big store out of both supermarkets and fashion retailers that reported a loss in sales was Next and they decided to use the tired old scapegoat of Brexit as an excuse for the dip. The supermarkets and stores that reported the best increase in sales were cheap and cheerful companies such as Aldi, Lidl and B&M. Asos reported an increase of sales by 18% in the UK and 52% internationally (unlike Next, Asos can actually use Brexit as a legitimate reason for this due to the decreasing value of the pound) which is possibly a result of the rise of internet shopping and the Christmas season requiring a number of sparkly dresses.

Doesn’t the likes of Aldi and Lidl doing better than Tesco and Sainsbury are not say something about us as a nation? There is an estimated £4.2 billion expected to be spent in the week before Christmas but with Brexit in the air and inflation rearing its ugly head while our wages remain the same, can we actually afford Christmas at this point? We have adverts pushing £99 interactive tigers that will be forgotten about within 5 minutes when approximately 20% of people in Britain live in poverty. There are people dipping into their savings for the first time just so they can put together a simple Christmas as the big blowout is out of the question. Cries for people to refrain from writing “from Santa” on all of the presents to their children are abundant on social media as there’s a worry other kids won’t receive the same kind of expensive toys and will wonder what they did wrong for Santa to ignore them.

This is the part where I’m sure someone would say “it’s not the present but the thought that counts” but let’s be honest, that saying is a load of crap. The present counts just as much as the thought which is why we spend hours fighting the crowds and scrolling through websites to find something that they maybe won’t throw out in the trash along with all the wrapping paper. No one wants to be the person who is giving bars of Milka chocolate that they got from Poundland when someone else is giving bottles of Chanel No 5.

Christmas has become one giant warped competition that we happily enter into because we’re told to. We’re shown shiny adverts that don’t actually mean much when it comes to Christmas but we talk about them regardless and then end up purchasing a load of garbage from those stores. Debenhams isn’t actually selling Ewan McGregor (and if they were I’d fight you for him) but the use of him in their modern Cinderella story advert got you talking and now you’re unconsciously making your way into Debenhams.

If we could eliminate the profit margins and the sales tactics, I’d be ok with Christmas but a part of me resents how over-commercialised it’s become. I don’t want to see fully decorated Christmas trees in the corner of supermarkets in September, I don’t want selection boxes diving off the shelf at me in October, I don’t want to walk around with The Final Countdown stuck in my head thanks to whichever supermarket used it in their advert last year. All I want to do is spend time with my family, eat chocolate for breakfast and laugh as my dog excitedly runs around the house with his new toy. You can keep your overhyped John Lewis adverts and vicious Toblerone. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to buy someone a remote control Range Rover.

It’s not all doom and gloom since a lot of us get a little bit more charitable this time of year so, if you have a few extra pennies and you’re in a giving mood, here are a few ways you can donate time, money and presents to people who really need it:
- Cash for Kids is looking for toys for underprivileged kids. These can be dropped off at your local branch of Wickes.
- Oxfam sells fairtrade chocolate so not only are you giving money to charity, you’re also getting a few delicious presents for people.
- Supermarkets often have containers for local food banks; check what kind of food they’re looking for and purchase a few bits and pieces as you do your Christmas food shop.
- Your local animal shelters may require food, blankets and toys for the animals.
- Guide Dogs and Canine Partners require toys for their puppies in training. Please check what kind of toys they’re looking for before donating as some cannot be given to the dogs (for example, a certain former Guide Dog puppy of mine swallowed a “roadkill” type toy and had to have it surgically removed).
- St Mungo’s along with Street’s Kitchen are turning Euston station into a shelter for 200 homeless people on Christmas day. They’re always looking for additional funding and more volunteers.
- Any local charities will happily welcome donations and, if you have the time this Christmas, volunteering is a great opportunity. If you have a teenager who’s spending their time gorging on food and watching a movie they’ve seen countless times, encourage them to volunteer for a few hours. It’s not only beneficial to the community but it’s a great starting point for a CV.

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