Let’s Start Christmas Now I Mean Honestly Why Not
“Oh I wish it could be Christmas everydaaaay,” sang a long-haired, grizzly and slightly frightening looking Roy Wood alongside the rest of Wizzard and a children’s choir in 1973. “Never!” a former me would declare with absolute conviction whenever I heard it played. Christmas is magical because it only comes once a year and it’s the single best thing about winter.
Today I’m sharing Roy’s sentiment by playing the song extra loud – and it’s only early November. Why? Because in times of uncertainty I am absolutely certain that nothing is more soothing than the smell of gingerbread, the sight of a cheap bauble and the sound of songs usually only reserved for the month of December.
I used to bemoan the Christmas decorations that went up weeks early, any talk of Christmas dismissively brushed away like a compliment from a construction worker on a building site.
How terribly basic to be looking forward to Christmas this early in the year! There were way more social events and exciting things in life to be enjoyed in the now. Halloween, bonfire night, Diwali, Chanukah, Thanksgiving - all legitimate celebrations that shouldn’t be clouded over in the haste for the 25th day of December.
I was of the mindset that the magic of Christmas songs only work if they are played from 1st December onwards. This was before my enlightenment - and lockdown. In the UK we are on a four week Corona-inspired lockdown with potential for extension until…who knows. And so it was that a random trip to the local DPD parcel drop-off point in Homebase got me excited for Christmas like never before. I spied a huge inflatable Santa floating menacingly above the fake Christmas trees and honestly, it was the first time I’d been excited in maybe a month. Maybe several months but I don’t want to sound like I’m depressed or anything.
With a spring in my step I stopped to fuel the car up on the way home and treated myself to a novelty machine-produced Costa coffee. Over-sweet and made with cheap dairy it was festively named “The Quality Street Purple One.” This beverage only added to my deep inner knowing that if Christmas began early this year all would be right with the world.
As I drove back home I toggled between radio stations and it settled on Classic FM. The sound of harps, the foggy sky overhead, it being the first really cold day of the year – they were all signs from the universe and I knew I needed Christmas more than ever.
I made the laborious trip up to the loft a day later and lugged down the plastic tree (sadly a real one just isn’t going to last if it goes up now). I have the old decorations which I had carelessly packed away in January, back when I was full of hopes and dreams of new décor. I had promised myself new beautiful ornaments for the (real) tree of Yuletide 2020. Oh how foolish! I’m not able to shop in person for new decorations at John Lewis, purveyors of all things that are good about Christmas. Not even Ikea. So these pitiful old baubles and tired tinsel will have to do for yet another year.
Is it human nature to want what we can’t have? It must be the reason why I have so many festive plans I simply cannot instigate for at least another year. I want to watch a performance of the Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House more than ever. I’ve a deep desire to see my best girlfriends in town in a group larger than six. I need to sit in the snug by the fireplace at The Wigmore on Regent Street with them and eat too much food and drink even more wine. Maybe one of us will wear too much sparkly make-up just because we can.
I desperately want to channel Dr Zhivago vibes with a faux fur pill box hat, visit the fake German Christmas markets and drink mulled wine to warm myself up. I want to be one of the first to catch sight of the big department store window displays with childlike wonder. I need to look up at the lights in central London in absolute awe as I did when I was a little girl, and hear the beautiful sound of carols sung by a choir.
I’m not the only one desperate for an early Christmas. A friend excitedly told me how she and her siblings had planned to move in with their parents a week before Christmas and cook themed dinners each day, which she has already planned in minute detail. Her eyes were sparkling. She doesn’t even cook.
Family time used to be reserved for the days between Christmas and New Year. When over-eating becomes an actual sport. A time of chocolate selection boxes and bottles of alcoholic Irish cream consumed while lounging in pyjamas all day and watching seasonal specials on terrestrial television (Netflix what?). The week before Christmas was strictly reserved for hurriedly finishing work projects, partying, flirting and a sense of freedom unique to the time of year. Not anymore it seems.
Only a year ago we both would have been excitedly shopping for new party outfits and deciding which restaurants to book for our annual Christmas drinks or bottomless brunch. Maybe ice-skating outside the Natural History Museum (which never actually happens due to it being completely booked two months in advance and one or more of us suffering from old lady back and hip problems).
So aside from putting up the decorations and playing cheesy Christmas music what else is there? Cards and shopping for gifts can wait. I need to stay in my comfort zone and shop in desperation as late as possible to get my thrills. What I absolutely can do now though is don a sparkly kitsch sweater usually only reserved for the festive season. Yes, grab those sunnies — I’m about to bust out a sequinned Christmas jumper a whole month early.
Will everyone else join me in welcoming Christmas rather prematurely? Seeing as this request is devoid of any sentiment of actual religious faith, I sincerely hope so! Either way I shall carry on regardless with my own attempt at saving my sanity. Mostly by pretending to be seven again, believing in Santa Claus and hoping my hardest for a new Barbie. Or maybe just the grown-up version of the blingy earrings Holiday Barbie would wear. She sure as hell isn’t staying at home in that get-up.
For now I will have to make do with my fake tree, cheap old decorations and Spotify playlist. I’m hoping the Christmas cheer can spread to my friends and neighbours soon. So anyway, please accept my apologies Filipino friends. Never again will I laugh at your enthusiasm for Christmas as you dig out that tree in September. Still a little too early for me but never say never.