As Santa imagines himself basking in the sun on a hot beach in Benidorm, sipping on a Tequila Sunrise, the cold reality of his performance review shatters the dream:
- Chimney navigation - Good.
- Reindeer care - Adequate.
- Bell jingling - Poor.
Better put a hold on that extra cocktail, Santa, no bonus for you. How can he make Christmas better? I've got a couple of suggestions.
Imagine yourself strolling down a shopping aisle in your flip-flops with a sunny disposition after enjoying some rare September heat. You turn a corner and freeze. The bottle of Pimms / Lambrini drops from your hand… “No, it couldn’t be. Not this early.”
Pies. Mince pies. Hundreds of the pesky yet delicious morsels. Iced, extra special, deep filled, pattern topped, extra fruity, all varieties, mocking you: “Why don’t you cool off from the summer heat with a nice hot mince pie.” Mince pies in September? There is no social protocol for eating a mince pie in autumn.
Shops are the worst. They want us to spend money for profit! How very dare they. So they'll get the Christmas music on early to get us in the mood to part with our hard earned cash. I remember this happening in a bookshop I worked at. Want to prevent the evil conglomerate from taking us over? Better get the sales up, and to do that, we need to get the Christmas music on... in October! Even Stephen King couldn’t dream up a vile horror story as pursuing a bookshop while Cliff Richard sings the Lord’s Prayer.
So let’s boycott the shops which stock Christmas tat before the 1st of December! No premature e-jingle-ation. However, when the 1st of December does hit, by Santa’s beard, let’s go for it! There are 12 months so let's celebrate getting through the drudgery of another year by spending one of them partying.
We will, of course, need to make up some new events to keep us entertained throughout December to New Year’s Eve. Mince Pie Monday perhaps? Or Winter Backpack Wednesday (give them to homeless people filled with useful stuff).
Spend, spend, spend
Another area we can improve is gifting. We need to make gifting financially cheaper, and less materialistic, wasteful & stressful.
Don’t get me wrong, giving gifts at Christmas can make both the giftee and gifter happy, but it’s really hard and stressful to get people appropriate presents even if you’ve known them for years. People’s tastes are quite subtle. I first realised this a long time ago when I bought someone a Star Trek notebook because she watched Star Trek. I soon realised that actually she wasn’t really into Star Trek that much but just liked watching the show. Close but no cigar.
The more money you spend the easier it can be to buy a gift . Suddenly more options are open to you. But this feels like cheating. I bought a knife for someone with the reasoning that they liked cooking, knives should last & I could buy it easily online. But I didn’t really consider how he would feel getting something expensive.
It’s easy to say to a giftee “Don’t worry about it. I don’t need anything in return other than the happiness it brings me to see you happy”. But it's not that simple because we're human. Nothing is simple as a human. You open a present and suddenly your brain is like “FEEL ALL THE THINGS”.
Maybe it’s best to stay away from gifts or try to come up with some more inventive ideas. How about buying something disposable like food or drink. Maybe just spending time with someone is a gift enough. Especially if, unbeknownst to you, that’s the last time you’ll see them.
As a side note, I have a biased opinion because I’m in the lucky position where I can buy the things I would have wanted as a child, I don’t have to wait for Christmas or birthdays. It’s easy for me to say “let’s avoid gifts”.
Christmas spirit could very well be the brandy or rum you stick in your Glühwein. Possibly the only thing which can get you through the Christmas shopping crowds without losing your mind. The thing is, Christmas shouldn’t be stressful, otherwise what’s the point?
Maybe instead of helping Santa with his job performance it’s time to put him out to pasture with Rudolph. Maybe it’s time for younger, fresh faced ideas to take up the mantle.
On classic form I didn't take any of my own advice. In November I was sitting on my crumbly throne of mince-pie shame, ordering Black Friday gifts from Amazon, in the hope that I wouldn't have to brave the crowds in December. Of course, none of the gifts arrived and Mahesh on Amazon text chat reassured me:
“But today the package will get deliver to you. May i know your contact number so i can forwarded it to delivery boy.”
We have child labour laws here Mahesh! Although I wouldn't put it past Amazon to use paper boys to deliver their parcels. Sure enough the parcels never turned up.
When the gifts aren't available on Amazon it's off the Trafford Centre to re-learn another life lesson: This is a terrible, terrible idea. You can't cope with the ‘living-dead’ shopper walking pace, it's always too hot, and everything is expensive and shit.
After panic buying in Lush I came out literally sweating, clutching onto some expensive scalp cream which I can't gift to anyone and smells of orange blossom.
So I'm sitting here, mince pie throne slightly a mush, currently smelling like a Grandma who's been bathing in Febreeze, talking to Nazeem from Amazon. But worry not! Nazeem is a man of action and he has the power of 'One Day Delivery'. We can do this Nazeem.
This. This is why we need to change Christmas.