Well, here it is, what you’ve been waiting for this Christmas: the annual Mzebonga bitching session about the horrid commercial travesty to mankind that is the festival of Noel. This year, I just don’t think I have the energy to care either way. I do actually like Christmas day. I like playing with the blocks I inevitably buy for my nephew. I like having a slap up meal with my family. I don’t even mind that some of that will be to inevitably take the piss out of my farcical love life: it’s the time of year for it. I just hate the fact that Christmas has all of this shit in the run up. Christmas has many days of complete toss leading up to it. So, here is my countdown to Christmas 2005.
With bonfire night out of the way, stores pull out all the stops and get Christmas rolling. This is when they start selling cheap tat that you can hang up around your home in the name of Christmas. Seriously, what other time of year could you cover your house in glittery shit and have people tell you it looks “festive” rather than extremely homosexual? What the hell are you doing?
This is about the time I start drinking irresponsibly. Well, more so. After a week of people saying “it’s almost Christmas” and jabbering on about how much Christmas shopping they have already done, I’m just about ready to go over the edge and drink myself into an early grave: George Best style. The assault on my senses is generally unending and already more than I really want to comprehend.
This is really the watershed for the corporations: this day marks the first day on which the Average Joe’s brain can be forced into a sense of panic buy the constant advertising and reminders that Christmas is impending. From this day until the end of January sales, you will notice a distinct increase in the number of toy manufacturers advertising for complete shit in an attempt to get kids to pester their parents for it. Some really unscrupulous retailers will start playing shitty festive music on a loop. Trying to shop for anything, even cabbages, will mean you have to brave a gauntlet of shop announcements yelling “CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS!” Moreover, shops start pushing “deals” on DVDs and CDs that can be easily bettered by shopping online. No shop is sacred, which is a general rule throughout the year – except for the Vatican souvenir stand, which the Pope blessed (yet it seems so much more like a work of Satan for that very reason).
This is around the time that the people from work decide that it would be a good idea to go out and have a Christmas Party together. It’s not. Not generally. For the most part, the thing you have in common with your work colleagues is work. That’s all. You either end up talking about that report that you have to do by Monday or you end up listening to other people who you really don’t much like talking vacuously about the holiday they are planning to have in the New Year. For example, this years Christmas Party for my work was almost a complete washout. I had to pay for a meal that was barely cooked and vaguely resembled something that was edible once and sit listening to a DJ who seemed to be very much under the illusion that he was a Comedian. I did the only thing that I could think of in the situation: I GOT DRUNK. This was helped by the fact that the barman gave me my last two drinks free (I’ve not completely lost my sex appeal: I just happen to remain repellent to the opposite sex). At this point, I started heckling the DJ and yelling at the employees of another company that they owed us money.
Thankfully, I didn’t completely ruin my employment status by shagging the secretary or the boss’s wife. That’s only because the secretary was with her husband and the boss’s wife didn’t attend. The fundraiser was fair game but I just couldn’t get her drunk enough. DAMN YOU, BARMAN, GIVE THE CHICKS FREE DRINKS, NOT ME!
This is when I get paid. In any normal month, I’d get paid on the 28th but, no, because people can’t spend responsibly in the run-up to Christmas, I have to put up with a 6-week month in January. This is really not good for cash flow. I don’t want my pay before Christmas because I will blow it all on alcohol just to make the pain go away. I need my money in my bank AFTER Christmas to put right the gross expenditure and buy hangover cures. Christmas fucks up my accounts for the year and I spend the next 11 months trying to get them back on track.
These two days are usually a blur. I try to do some token Christmas shopping whilst not being in the slightest bit interested in the whole practice. I also attempt to squeeze seeing some friends into these days only to find myself embarrassed by the fact that they have all brought me presents and I haven’t got them a single fucking thing. Normally this results in me buying them assloads of pizza and alcohol.
When I’m finally finished with shopping and friends, I go home. I go home, to an empty, un-festive house and I watch TV, have a bath then go to bed. This Christmas is the second one of this particular routine. I’m always saying Christmas isn’t special and shouldn’t be any different from any other day; yet, here I am, moaning about how I have expectations that this year might be in some way different. You’d think, after all my foul whining, I’d have learned by now.
In all fairness to the whole set of whinging that goes on the day before, this day usually gets steadily better as it drags on. Waking up alone on Christmas Day is really something that I’ll never get used to: nor do I feel that I should have to. Still, I wake up the normal time, mill around my flat and hastily wrap all the presents as I had planned to do the night before but was too drunk to coordinate my hands properly. Somewhat mercifully, I have usually found that I also avoid a hangover, which is really better than I deserve given my disposition the prior night.
Around about 11am, I skulk down to my parents in pursuit of some warm beverage to offset the mild fug that hangs within my skull. Given that I have not yet done this, my Christmas story really ends here.
So, be sure to have a Merry Little Christmas. And if you can’t do that, find a rock to crawl under and F.O.A.D.