Imagine the horror – I am NOT stoked about the prospect of making contact with Blackpool every Christmas season. It is not that I am scared of them. I have always been a fan of festive bring-your-daughter-to-work-on-Christmas-Day days and celebrated Christmases in north America during the late 80s, early 90s and now. The only difference is we celebrated our Sabbath and it was during the day. It was far safer for the three of us.
But there were many reasons why I supported all three aforementioned holidays. First of all, I was a puritan. I loathed Christmas because I disapproved of its drinking and binge-drinking. I expected a very sad and lonely season and, if you’re a mother, you relish the opportunity to be able to leave your drunk or hungover children home alone in the great “apology if you’re alone” debate. Then there was the commercialism. Something to which I have been becoming increasingly indifferent and superstitious lately as I save up to buy my first good weed.
Second, the feeling of holiday cheer. Children who are frightened and haunted by every doll and tree as they make their way through the stores is oddly comforting. Of course, there are already too many lights and plush toys in shops, but Christmas will provide an antidote to what is going to be a long winter and a nightmare economy.
And finally, there is the nostalgia. When I was a child, I remember looking forward to those months of gawping at the colourfully lit shops, thinking about having an indulgent holiday, and drawing on my childhood vocabulary of spooky stories. I remember a friend asking me “what is Christmas Eve like?” And I said: “Well, you know, unless you’re in dark Scotland, it’s just a maudlin week before it’s all over again, or in West Bromwich at the time of the first pillow raid.”
And in that moment, I’ll be back. The Christmas Shopping Season is our first argument. This year is the first year I find myself wishing there were six days of skipping school and going to the shops on the Sunday before the week. I could be sitting in the public library with Professor Fry beside me having a royal wedding quiz. I could go and look at the Michaelmas lights and linger just long enough to have a latte and then spend the next five days, no more, shopping.