So Starbucks have the red cups out… there is a wreath on the door of the one in town. Christmas songs are being played on the radio, and everyone is wittering on about going Christmas shopping. In the middle of the shopping centre there is a giant Santa’s Grotto, fabulously overpriced, and some miserable-looking people dressed as elves.
I’m a moody old cow when it comes to Christmas as a rule. I don’t mind the wrapping-the-presents bit, and I don’t mind the day itself (as a rule). What I do object to is it starting in September. I hate Christmas songs – even on Christmas day (and especially Wham!) and I hate the mania that seems to grab people into converging on the nearest shopping centre and panic-buying.
So no, you will not catch me wearing antlers or a glowing nose, wishing strangers a “merry Christmas” or even donning a red hat. You will catch me with a Starbucks red cup, purely because I have no choice, and you will catch me watching Christmassy films (purely because they are the only guilty pleasure I get out of the whole thing).
But, how early is too early? Is it okay to start thinking about Christmas before Halloween, or buying next year’s presents in the January sales because you simply can’t wait? The bookshops are filled with Christmas books – celebrities have written their biographies, and Special Editions take front and centre. Little Christmas-stocking books are garbed in fake snow and red baubles on shelves to make sure you know they’re just for Christmas, and all the signs have snowflakes on them. This year, Carol Ann Duffy has released a book of poems just for Christmas.
When I worked in retail, I loathed the Christmas thing. It was probably the fact that you spend hours decorating the place, just to have it destroyed in a matter of minutes by panicked shoppers who don’t know what to buy Gran. (I do like the well-wishing regulars I used to get who would bring me chocolate every now and then to cheer me up). I was always amused by the harangued husbands on Christmas Eve picking up something bound in pink for their wives because they didn’t get organised sooner.
But I do love bits of Christmas. What makes you feel Christmassy? And are you even thinking of it yet?
And also, what book would you recommend for holiday reading? Would it be one from the Christmas-themed displays, or a classic? Would it just simply be your favourite book, because you should always feel happy at Christmas, or should it be a brand new, untried one?
<There, I made it a bit book-themed!>