I am a self-confessed Christmas lover. I love the lights, the decorations, the atmosphere and dare I say it, the Christmas tunes. I have always loved Christmas, from when I was a small child with visions of Santa etched into my imagination nibbling my way through a selection box, to an adult who every year looks forward to catching up with old friends and family and indulging in too many glasses of mulled wine and that guilt-free calorific Christmas dinner.
As a Christmas enthusiast, I should probably relish in the fact that the festive season seems to be starting earlier every single year. But I don’t. The Christmas “creep” doesn’t even wait until Halloween is over any more. It’s more like a Christmas sprint. Beside monkey nuts and pumpkins you’ll find mince pies and tinsel. Skeletons leer and bearded Santas beam within metres of one another. And that’s only the tip of the Yuletide iceberg, this year some Department Stores started selling Christmas decorations in August. Most years that’s only the start of the Irish summer!
Traditionally, Christmas begins on the 8th of December, but, I think many will concede that the 1st of December is not an unreasonable date to start pulling out the fairy lights and baubles from the attic. The 12th of November, however, is a little too early by any account to have an entire city lit up and bells-a-jingling. It also makes it exceedingly difficult for small retailers to compete with big department stores and high street shops, who are festooning their windows with pine cones and holly the moment the kids have the Halloween haul eaten.
Since the economic downturn, many people have started their Christmas shopping far earlier, to alleviate financial pressure coming up to the main event, so this has contributed to the elementary mistletoe-hanging . This is certainly understandable. But has the downturn taught us anything? Instead of trying to maintain the extravagant standards pre-recession, should we not learn from it and try to change our habits? Shouldn’t true Christmas spirit be prevailing now more than ever? Regardless of race, religion or culture, Christmas is about community, selflessness and giving. Be that giving your time to an old friend over the festive period, giving a hand at a local charity fundraiser, or giving a few bob to the young fella who helped you carry the messages to your car on a miserable winters’ night.
I am a Christmas fanatic. By the 29th of December I start feeling nostalgic and wishing it was Christmas Eve all over again. But even I feel that the special Christmas feeling is lost when we try to begin the festive period in October. I also think of the people who for loss or loneliness do not love Christmas, and are subjected to an almost 12 week onslaught of Mariah Carey and the Jingle Bell Rock. Remember this Christmas the things in your life that bring you happiness, that money simply cannot buy.