Okay before I say this, don’t hate me. I like Christmas. I’m all for Christmas. Give me tinsel, snow, pigs in blankets, Michael Bublé - give me the whole festive lot. The truth is actually pretty tragic, for you see, I love christmas, but christmas just doesn't love me. In fact, if Christmas was a human, by this stage I’d be triple texting at 3:28am and Christmas would be online and active, ignoring my texts, hard.
It’s okay though, because at least I understand. I understand why my affection is so dismissed, why my feelings are so unreciprocated and this is it - I am a student, ergo, I am poor.
Ostensibly, Christmas is a religious holiday; celebrating the birth of Jesus is the name of the game, but, this is Western society, so it’s also kind of not. I could tell you that in this increasingly secular society, the new goal of the festive period is to spread love, indulge in family time, sing Silent Night in the snow, mulled wine in one hand, distant cousin’s hand in the other. I wouldn’t be wrong, it is about all of these things, including the whole bit about the birth of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. But, I hear you ask, how do I spread this love? How, in this special time of year, do I let people know I care? Money, obviously.
If only I had it.
So, here we have it: the hamartia of Christmas. This won’t change, and I don’t see another plausible alternative but the closer we get to christmas, the more tears I shed when looking at my bank account. People want it all. People want to ‘do something nice for Christmas’, ‘eat something nice for Christmas’, ‘go somewhere nice for Christmas’, and then to top it all off, they also ‘want something nice for Christmas’. Unbelievable.
I am inevitably buried by varying festive fun. Festive fun that includes things like buying Secret Santas for people it would be awkward for me to get a present for in any other context and agreeing to Christmas dinners I legitimately cannot afford.
I know I sound like Scrooge, it’s hard to believe I’ve been invited to any christmas parties reading this, I know, but Christmas has become a hassle for me; it makes me feel guilty and angry. I start thinking about the admittedly crap presents I am buying purely out of a sense of obligation, compounded by the lacking presents I end up getting for people I genuinely care for, suffering due to money being spent on aforementioned crap presents.
Why do we do this? You know what, here’s an idea - I won’t spend £10 on a present that you will be positively indifferent to, and you don’t spend £10 on a present for me. That way I can both eat this week and get my Nan a nicer present. Doesn’t that sound fairer on everyone?
The chances of us returning to a Christmas void of all materialism is long gone, and that’s not what I crave. I just wish that Christmas was less imbued with peer pressure to buy and do everything. It’s time we let a bit of honesty sneak in the house alongside Santa. So, here’s my advice, my (free) gift to you, next time someone suggests an expensive, unnecessary, Christmas outing, look them in the eyes and tell them this, ‘sorry, I can’t afford it’.