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.