The next insufferable idiot that asks me if I've started my Christmas shopping is going to be one sorry cretin. If they follow it up with 'not that women ever stop shopping' I will bite them. That is not something I say lightly, one of the few things that pleased mother about me when I was a child was that I was not a biter. A sulker yes -a biter no. Not even once for a laugh.
There is something about the forced jollity at this time of year that unsettles me. It brings out strange aspects of my character that remain concealed throughout the year. On the one hand all the pointless indulgence makes me feel very puritanical, which is most unlike me. I am the merest baw hair off buying everyone a sheep for Africa and spending Christmas Day making sandwiches for the poor. Or ram raiding Argos and handing the spoils over to the orphans. The rest of me just wants to get drunk and make rude remarks under my breath at various family members.
I suspect it's the pointless nature of the indulgence that irks me. I cannot stand the traditional Christmas dinner. I remember reading in 'Reasons To Be Cheerful' by Mark Steel about a militant vegetarian friend of his who turned up for Christmas dinner at his parents and hurled the turkey out the window. I have no idea who this fellow is but to me he is a hero. I long to hurl Christmas dinner out the window and send for a channa masala instead.
The decorations are all right I suppose. I do like a Nativity Scene and a few fairy lights. I'm also very fond of decorations made by little children in school, paper chains, bits of card with glitter and the like. I rather like the obvious glee with which children hurl these amateurish masterpieces together. The clashing colours and wobbly cutting are a million times better than most factory produced tat to be purchased in shops.
You will therefore understand my total horror as it was revealed to me that one can pay someone or something to decorate one's tree 'professionally'. What sort of person would pay someone to decorate their tree? For the love of little baby Jesus it's not difficult. You can either wallop everything up at random and go for a cheerful riot of colour or yawn, pick two tasteful colours and stick to them. I know this is very intolerant of me but anyone who gets hung up about their Christmas tree matching their wallpaper is an arse. They are also a woman. The sort of woman that irons her pants and hates sex because it's untidy. I like a jolly, fat tree that is clearly too big for the room, standing at a strange angle and covered in a riot of clashing tat acquired over a thirty year period. The sort of tree it takes you a minute or two to realise what it is. That is a Christmas tree. It should also be a real tree. A foot full of pine needles reminds one that life is not all beer and skittles and is especially funny if it happens to someone else.