Christmas, deconstructed.

Christmas can’t last forever. Thank Christ for that. It may feel like this Christmas has been a particularly long one, but that’s because it started in October. No, July. No, it started as soon as the last Christmas ended. There is no escaping Christmas; we live in a country so utterly bookended by it that it has just become a cycle. Now, I don’t mind a bit of Christmas (emphasis on the bit) but by the time it finishes I am thoroughly sick and tired of it all. And as a result one of my very favourite things about this time of year is waking up one morning in early January and sticking Christmas back into a box and kicking it really quite violently up the stairs and into the darkest corner of the loft. Today was that day. Well, almost.

Following a big spend at the start of December I have finally got to the point where the last of the Christmas wine has been whittled down enough to fit into a cupboard and leave alone for a few days. We bought a box of mince pies weeks ago and still have three left: like turkey, sprouts, parsnips, cranberry sauce, bread sauce, red cabbage and mulled wine – if mince pies were really all that good you’d have them the rest of the year too. The recycling boxes are fit to burst and I can see the back of the fridge again. All the presents have been distributed to where they best belong – the re-gift pile, the music collection, the charity bag, the wardrobe. And it is with a teary eye that I must resign myself to the fact I won’t be able to wear my splendid Beach Boys Christmas t-shirt for at least another eleven months. Which is a pity.

For the first time this year Wifey insisted we buy a Christmas wreath for the front door. She put her foot down when she noticed our opposing neighbours all tart up their frontage with a sequence of tasteful, festive wreaths of their own. At first she bought one at a care home charity fair, but it looked like some sort of garish, glittery pine cone snuff movie, and so we went classy instead. Well, we went John Lewis, and our front door still has the wreath hanging off it, a wreath so big you could use it to save a drowning hippo. It is, I’m told, staying there until the 5th and that’s the end of that; sometimes you have to realise that negotiations were never on the negotiation table in the first place. All our Christmas cards are still out too. They have been carefully hung out around the dining room, in the order in which they were received, and include the annual mix of cards from friends, family, people I don’t like and people I have never heard of. Eventually they will all be recycled and one day used to wipe someone’s arse. And that just leaves the tree (no pun intended).

I was too hasty in saying yes to this year’s tree. It is far too wide. In fact it is only about four inches slimmer than the width of our living room and is so intrusive that when a second person enters the room they have to scuttle across the ceiling, like Spiderman, to get to the sofa. Sure it looked nice, but sometimes it felt like sitting in a small box with a big, silent gorilla. Not anymore. The lights have been peeled off and the eclectic range of decorations carefully removed and wrapped up. Wifey told me she wanted to recycle the tree and had heard that they could even be re-planted, but I couldn’t quite hear her because I was busy sawing the bugger into three with my big manly hands (and a saw, of course). The poor thing is now stuffed in the green bin (the tree, not Wifey) and the living room feels like a stadium this evening. When this moment happens every year I feel I have finally conquered Christmas. And I feel more at peace. Until the next one. Only 356 days to go: I’m so excited.

G B Hewitt. 03.01.2022

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