Here are the worst things about Christmas:
1. Complete strangers wishing you Merry Christmas. Yesterday I was exhorted to have a Happy Christmas 4 times by people I just happened to be alive near to. In October, I sneezed violently 4 times on a crowded tube. Not a single person blessed me. People really need to get their priorities in order.
2. Christmas jumpers. Which are currently about as ‘ironic’ as Cliff Richard’s ‘Miseltoe and Wine’.*
3. Magazine gift guides. I very much do not want my family to realize that there are present possibilities other than a very well-written personalized poem:
Mum it’s Christmas
We’re all coming over
You try to hoover while we’re sitting down
And won’t let us eat on the sofa.
Equally, I feel very uncomfortable telling my Mother that she ‘has it all’, when I know for certain that I have been quietly helping myself to household items such as toilet paper and truffle oil for years. This is an excellent, financially-responsible thing to do, although be careful to hide ill-gotten gains when your parents visit your flat. It is almost impossible to bluff away owning the identical hand-stitched cashmere sofa throw they got 20 years ago in Florence. ‘No, no Mum,’ I ended up explaining. ‘Zara Home has really improved the quality of their fabrics these days.’
4. The bizarre and inexplicable licentiousness that people feel Christmas affords them. ‘Aw, go on,’ they say, fisting all of my saved-up chocolate biscuits into their faces. ‘It’s Christmas.’ I can’t wait to return the favour. ‘Oh, don’t mind if I do,’ I’ll say, quaffing champagne they haven’t offered but that I’ve ‘noticed’ tucked away behind their PG tips. ‘After all, it’s the harvest festival.’
*Cliff Richard’s wall calendar, of course, remains as the number 1 gift to give everyone you know.