THE only turkey on my Christmas plate will be the cold variety – and that’s no comment on the weather.
For the second year running I’m just not doing Christmas and, yes, I’m definitely missing out.
Missing out on days of shopping in long irritating queues searching for gifts the recipients don’t really want anyway.
Missing out on the stress of wondering if there’s anyone or anything I might have forgotten as the ever longer countdown to the nothing of a day that is our modern December 25 starts getting to the 99 per cent still playing the game.
No presents, no cards, no silly messages on Facebook, no tree or trimmings – and no more food nor drink on the ‘big day’ than any other Monday.
No worries about spending too much or joining the gym or Slimming World to combat the excesses of the season.
And thanks to not going shopping, I don’t have to listen to all that awful Christmas music. It’s Slade one, Wizard nil for me, thus far, and hopefully that’s the way it will stay.
My one concession is accepting most social invitations pre-Christmas – not because it’s a special time of year but because it’s good to catch up with people anyway.
I’m not suggesting everybody should take the same line and I would miss the holiday if it wasn’t there.
For me, Christmas is an invaluable psychological divide in the sand in what has every indication of being a long hard winter. I also think the idea of a New Year is essential for our mental health.
To be quite honest, I’ve never quite ‘got’ Christmas. I have no memories that match up to the image of the season portrayed on television – my best time was the one year I got away from it altogether and toasted the season abroad.
Most of us moan about how Christmas has become ‘too commercial’ – but go along with it anyway.
After all, we have simply got to save face by buying for our loved ones and friends and give the impression we are having a fabulous time – when invariably that isn’t the case at all.
Even when I was a Christian, I couldn’t stand the hypocrisy of Christmas. After all either Jesus Christ is a key figure in your life 365 days of the year or not at all. There isn’t even any historical evidence that Jesus was born on December 25.
But Christmas in the west is far more akin to the Roman festival of Saturnalia.
This is a time when folk eat and drink too much, get naked in the streets, put up trees and buy each other presents.
And this I believe is the major influence on our behaviour in this country.
The corporations are the very opposite of Robin Hood. Modern day Christmas in Great Britain is a time when the poor empty their pockets, fill up their credit cards and give to the rich.
My point is that most people do it, not because they truly want to but as a case of ‘ought’ or ‘should’ – and those are two words I have banned from my vocabulary.
January will come around soon enough – and our lives will be just the same.
The ‘magic of Christmas’ is as much an illusion as Santa himself. I understand fully the need to fill children with enthusiasm but that’s as far as it need go.
It does us good to take a break from work and reflect on what has happened in the last year.
And that’s what I will do in the holiday period ahead, knowing I don’t have to stretch a credit card to relieve the monotony of January and February.
Apart from working needlessly hard, Scrooge had it about right.