In last week’s Bank Holiday Tuesday, I tackled one of the big issues- how Christmas needs to fuck off and leave me alone for at least another two weeks.
The Student Standard is Maynooth’s independent news source and for some unearthly reason have given me a weekly column.
I wish for Christmas to leave me alone.
Look, it’s not that I don’t love Christmas, guys. I love it the way I love music festivals. I love the whole four day ceremony of it – the little traditions everyone has.
For festivals there’s tent packing, hat buying, and running around Tesco Clare Hall with your best friend and a trolley filling it with what I now know to be horrible alcopops. There’s learning new swear words as you set up your tent, the pitiful look of solidarity when you announce you’re off to use the loo, there’s wailing in your sodden tent after Florence and the Machine because your wellies are leaking and your coat’s soaked through. Then through your own ingenuity you fashion a new one out of a bin liner and then rip it off hulk style during Muse. I love festivals.
For Christmas there’s my mother’s best friend’s visit the day before Christmas Eve to drop off our presents. There are 2 cards in the post from my aunties in Belfast and Wales which once always contained strange, exotic money. There’s the Christmas eve morning fry up in my grandmothers house and then the one and only mass that I attend all year round, just so I can hear a choir belt out ‘O Holy Night’. I love Christmas.
HOWEVER, it’s only the latter that I am now expected to enjoy spread out over ten weeks of adverts, music, films and fattening food. Nobody has ever asked me to spend two and a half months squatting in a field in Kildare living out of a pink tent just so I can listen to Gossip/Twin Headed Wolf/Get wasted and have a moon painted on my face. Of course not! We have all sanely agreed that ‘Festival season’ lasts from May-August and that nobody really gets pepped up for their chosen weekend until the week before. You NEVER have a pre-flatlake buzz that lasts eight weeks. A thing I like about festivals is that they are 3 days of concentrated fun.
Now people tell me (often while rolling their eyes, as is their wont when talking to a self-identified “feminist” with inverted commas) that it’s just a marketing strategy- The companies and shops just want people to get spending! It’s harmless! You don’t have to opt in! Well yes I do have to opt in because at every turn I see my friends playing the music, watching the films and putting up the decorations that should only belong between the 17th of December and the 6th of January. When I take umbrage with this I am told I’m a scrooge, but I’m honestly not. I just want us all to… chill. Relax. Save up all the Christmas cheer for another three weeks, then let it all out in a three day electric picnic secret garden BURST of happiness.
Can you imagine what a nightmare it is having kids in town right now? Seeing the lights, the music, thinking Christmas must be TOMORROW! My mother, who once queued for five hours just so my brothers and I could see ‘the best Santa’ in Switzers, says it’s a nightmare. Kids just don’t understand that it is actually still a month away. They’ll look at you, puzzled when you explain this and go “but why are the decorations up? That’s SILLY.” Yes, hypothetical child. That is silly. One of the few saving graces of RTÉ, in my opinion is their refusal to play any Christmas music until the 8th of December (the other is their refusal to get ‘glamour’ weather girls and instead stick with meteorologists. I am a big Evelyn Cusack/Jean Byrne fan). I take the same issue with all this pre-Christmas buzz that I had when girls in my year at school organized a ‘pre debs’ night out in January. HOW, I asked, through a mouthful of crisps probably, “HOW can you have a PRE-Debs? Debs is a DEBUT. It’s your DEBUT. EVERYONE SHUT UP ABOUT IT UNTIL NEXT SEPTEMBER RAAAWRRGH”. I just can’t deal with out of season festivities.
So I’m sorry guys, Christmas can – to use the most refined and parliamentary of language – fuck right off until it’s actually time for it. You don’t have to opt into the capitalist system, man- You don’t have to buy stupid ornaments and selection boxes half price! You don’t have to do anything just because it’s there! DON’T PLAY INTO WHAT THE MAN WANTS. PUT THAT MARKS AND SPENCER CHRISTMAS LOG DOWN NOW. I MEAN IT. This is a corporate fat cat party that I am checking out of in the same way I checked out of big massive fuck off music festivals like Oxegen after the ‘sobbing panic attack in a bin bag’ episode of 2010.
Niamh ‘I wear stupid jumpers all year around’ Keoghan