Miss Debrett on... The Christmas Spirit
It's easy to be Scrooge-like about Christmas,
and sometimes it feels like the whole world
is conspiring to help… Santa's grottoes
opening in August, Christmas goods in
stores by September, Christmas street
lighting in October - there's no end to
the nonsensical abuse of the
pre-Christmas calendar. By the
time December dawns it's not
surprising that many of us
feel weary at the mere
prospect of Christmas trees,
Christmas cards and the
whole seasonal palaver.
For some of us, it's all too much. We decamp to somewhere hot, sunny (and preferably Islamic), where Christmas just doesn't feature at all, and we try to while away the 25th in a state of blissful, and willed, ignorance.
But for most of us Christmas is an entrenched institution, a web of family obligations, commitments, guilt and responsibility. And the worst thing about it all is that, amidst all these undeniable pressures, we're expected to enjoy ourselves hugely, have a rollicking good time, spread seasonal cheer, love, goodwill to all men etc. etc.
If children are involved it's more straightforward. The school will whip them into a frenzy of pre-Christmas excitement, they'll love all the things we hate (lights in October, Santa's grottoes et al), and they'll be beside themselves with joyous anticipation. No matter how Scrooge-like your tendencies it's hard to resist a Christmas-besotted child, and a spattering of nativity plays and carol concerts will melt the hardest heart. You put your back into laying on a suitably enticing child-centred Christmas because you simply have no choice.
For all-adult gatherings, the conspiracy is a bit more self-conscious. To get through the festive season with your sanity intact you have to look deep within yourself and plunder the last vestiges of Christmas spirit; make yourself remember the excitement of childhood, the thrill of stockings on Christmas morning, the bingeing on sinful chocolate etc. etc., and try your hardest to access a small piece of your inner child. Then you must approach the big day with an unerring smile on your face, an optimistic outlook and positive feelings of goodwill to everyone involved.
Make every effort to behave well, go with the flow, and remember it's only one day out of 365. If all else fails, you can always hit the Christmas booze, but wait until the evening if you want to avoid family fireworks…
Miss Debrett's Top Tips
- If children are involved, whatever your own reservations, you must make every effort to put on a suitably enticing child-centred Christmas - you simply have no choice.
- Look deep within yourself, and plunder the last vestiges of Christmas spirit.
- Make every effort to behave well, go with the flow, and remember it's only one day out of 365.