Truly Scrooged

Great Britain

As an antidote to all those ghastly jingle-bell-ringing melodies we get at this time of the year, let’s have something a little more honest that suddenly feels apposite, given the recent situation at Gatwick Airport. I’m heading there shortly and will be descending from one chaos – planes under drone attack – to another, Barcelona separatists rioting right outside my flat, so that’s something to bear in mind before you wish me a peaceful Christmas.

In Barcelona Christmas happens in early January, if you first survive New Year’s Eve and its choking hazard of having to neck twelve grapes on the clock’s chimes. Once children have grown up and relatives have become so weird and fussy that you can only stand two hours in their presence before having to go and stand in the garden for a few minutes Christmas is less magical.

Although the least magical Christmas I spent was after visiting my mother in a care home on Christmas Day. It was a nightmarish scene, with so many parcels being unloaded and opened that it looked like the Surry Docks, plus the church having sent around a tone-deaf choir to bellow carols in all the confusion of querulous old people, wrapping paper, lost glasses, phones and hearing aids. Then the residents were packed off for their Christmas lunch and we weren’t allowed to wait for them, so we headed home and ate KFC in the Old Kent Road, watching the rain.

Filmic anti-Christmas sentiments can be found in ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’, ‘Silent Night, Deadly, Night’, ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas’ and the ever-delightful ‘Black Christmas’ (original version). I’d also suggest listening to this Christmas story. Bah humbug. Perhaps there’s a version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ that ends with Scrooge unreformed and keeping the Christmas goose for himself.


11 comments on “Truly Scrooged”

  1. Denise says:

    I am wishing you Merry Christmas anyway, you will find something !

  2. Ian Luck says:

    That’s why I love ‘Gremlins’ – it’s obviously made by someone who detests Christmas as much as I do. The ideal Christmas movie. Horrible creatures running amok, inventive deaths, and someone’s dad getting stuck in a chimney. What more do you need? It makes the ‘Three Wise Men’ story look very tame by comparison. Enjoy the last Tuesday of 2019. I will. I’ll be at work. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

  3. Helen Martin says:

    I feel sorry for people who cannot manipulate their minds so that there is something pleasant to enjoy in the 4th week of Dec.
    Go the scientific route and celebrate the winter solstice. Not exciting enough?
    Go the Scandinavian old style and celebrate a Gut Yule – lots of food and drink in that one.
    Make up your own celebration involving whatever you enjoy.
    One of our calligraphers made a huge banner one year and hung it across his front porch “Bah humbug” says Martin.
    There is no law that says you have to celebrate someone else’s holiday, but why go out of your way to be grumpy?

    May everyone have a happy and bright end to this year of 2018 and may the next year bring us all mostly joy.

  4. Brooke says:

    What Ian said.

  5. Ken Mann says:

    Surely the ghost story tradition is for people who dislike sentimentality?

  6. Vincent C says:

    Congratulations on being cited by John Lanchester in the December 20 issue of the London Review of Books (“I came across Greene’s anthology, and also Arthur Upfield, in Christopher Fowler’s excellent Book of Forgotten Authors”).

    Separately, and I hope not too inappositely, I recently stumbled on what is to me a lovely word, wintercearig, an Old English word defined as “winter sorrow” or “winter sadness”, a feeling of a deep sadness, usually comparable to the cold, still, dark heart of full winter, sometimes described instead as the product of the cold, dark heart of winter.

    For myself, now the Winter Solstice is behind us and the days are starting to get longer and the nights correspondingly shorter, I intend to put my wintercearig behind me and “laissez les bons temps rouler”.

    Best wishes to all for a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

  7. Helen Martin says:

    What Vincent said, especially about ‘les bons temps”

  8. Wayne Mook says:

    I enjoy this time, you can tell your old when you don’t like Xmas. As a kid I loved the commercialisation of Christmas, i.e. toys, food, daft bright decorations on persons & places, even know it still makes me smile, especially the splendid whiskey I had with relatives.

    I’m with Helen on this.

    Currently listening to Frank Sidebottom’s Christmas is Really Fantastic (especially in the afternoon.)

    Thanks for the Nick Lowe tune, hope you X-rays well.

    Have a splendid New Year everyone.


  9. Helen Martin says:

    Glad to know someone agrees with me, Wayne. I have a green felt tree shaped hat that has battery powered tiny lights and decorations. It always makes people laugh.

  10. Ian Luck says:

    I have disliked Christmas since I was about seven. If there was a Father Christmas, why did my parents ask me what I would like each year? I had previously written to Santa asking for a ‘Jet Pack’, and ‘A working rocket’, but had received neither; asking Dad for an Action Man (GI Joe 12″ figure), and his diving suit, meant that it turned up. As did his spacesuit. Maybe Santa was slacking, or not real at all. Asking Mum the following year for a microscope, and a pair of shoes with a compass hidden in the heel (Clarks Commandoes), and they appeared. Requests to Santa for Jetpack, as usual, came to nothing. By seven, I gave up asking him. Santa, you can go f**k yourself, and the sleigh you rode in on. Other things, like the horribly syrupy carols, and the twee nativity we had to endure, with the stage resembling a furniture showroom, the acting being so wooden (MDF, nowadays, probably). And then a friend called Clive, who was obsessed with the Romans, told me that there would not have been a census taken at this time of year, but would have been March sort of time. That was it. The whole thing is a lie! Add the fact that my gran would start an enormous argument on Christmas Day, every single year, and then go home happy, by which time I would have retreated upstairs with my new books. I never enjoyed the vast amounts of food, either, that was pressed on one all day – I only eat if I feel hungry, and have never been one for ‘grazing’. Nothing (apart from giving people gifts that they like – but I do that all year round, anyway) about Christmas holds any pleasure for me, and I always try to work through it. If you love it, then do so – just don’t expect me to. Sorry. And next year’s Christmas shifts are already booked in.

  11. Ian Luck says:

    There is something to look forward to in the last week of December – being at work on the 25th and 26th. And being paid a lot more for doing so. ; )

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