‘You can shout “Bah humbug!” all you want. But at the end of the day I’ve still snatched this 48 inch TV from you, haven’t I, and I’m the one at the till. Let’s be honest, nothing quite brings out the meaning of Christmas cheer as much as queueing and then fighting each other over a Black Friday deal.

Yet another Americanism we seem to have welcomed with open arms; this year I cooked thanksgiving to get into the full swing of the season and I’ve never even been to the US, but if we’re going to start Christmas in August, I’m going to have to start celebrating aptly. I’ve given up trying to figure out what Christmas means to me. Once you get over the original shock that Father Christmas doesn’t exist and that your parents have lied to you for all those years (what else have they been keeping from you?), then it just goes downhill from there, really.

Each year your pile of presents gets smaller and smaller until you finally have to fend for yourself and get some kids of your own or something. In hindsight think of all that stuff you had as a kid that is now sitting in a landfill, just waiting for you to come back and play with it; oh Woody, did Andy really finally send you to rest lying next to a slimy turkey carcass? Oh boo hoo.

Andy this year would probably exchange Woody for some sort of faux-penguin which is great because John Lewis doesn’t seem to care about real penguins (they refused to help those in Bristol). It will serve as some sort of reminder once he’s thrown that out and in some far off distant future an alien race starts an archaeological sift through our rubbish to see what features of life they can find. They’d sift through an amalgam of nostalgia from the year we all rushed out to buy presents partly because Sainsbury’s glossed over the horrors of World War II in some vain attempt at getting us to buy their groceries. Young men dying in trenches are exactly what I want to think about when I’m forcing meaty stuffing into the neck cavity of my Christmas goose.

As you get older the Christmas period starts to change as you relish the opportunity to see your friends at home and spend time with your family, finally around 22/23 you end out with people you only see at Christmas, including your family. This is also the age lots of people seem to disappear on boxing day back to the lofty places they came from, finding themselves in work the day after. I’m surprised someone hasn’t found a way to commercialise spending time with people you know, oh no wait, that’s why they invented pubs.

At least returning home to my rural backwater for Christmas means I won’t find myself thinking £3.80 is a reasonable price for a pint of beer. Every cloud has a silver lining. Nadolig llawen, anyway.

Luke Richards

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