Dropping the C bomb
It's happening, isn't it? Well, actually, it's been happening since August when tins of Quality Street started getting loaded into supermarkets on the sly. Drip, drip, drip - all of a sudden the Halloween Haribo is swept aside and the Coca-Cola Lorry is coming and ARRRRGH IT'S ONLY NOVEMBER!
I am a self-confessed Christmas lover. I adore it - I've said it before in this blog but in winter, my heart is a festive snowglobe and I will drink ALL the Snowballs and watch ALL the Christmas films. I will sprinkle cinnamon in my coffee, buy red candles for the hearth instead of white. I will snuggle under a blanket and watch the Christmas episodes of Gilmore Girls, The Office, Friends. I will cut holly from the garden and display it around the house, and cry over Meet Me in St Louis while wrapping presents by the tree.
But just. not. yet.
I went to the cinema last night to watch the latest Fantastic Beasts film (there's a typo you don't want to make on a public forum). Ooh, it was good. I'm also a Harry Potter nut, so was absolutely buzzing. Young Dumbledore at Hogwarts! Apparating galore! 1920s fashion! Zoe Kravitz! It had its ups and downs: even a Potterhead like me got a little lost on the plot, and I have an aversion to Johnny Depp, but its political allegory was not lost on me (evil man with blonde hair attempts to recruit brainwashed people to think that they are a superior race). Plus anything dreamed up by JK Rowling is a bloody good yarn, and did I mention Zoe Kravitz?
The cinema, I'm learning, is not a good place for me. A family beside us worked their way through multipacks of crisps and sweets for the entire duration, rustling constantly, even in quiet, importantly hushed moments. They just kept smashing through more and more packets, like they were unable to sit and watch without eating. BUT OMG THE CHRISTMAS ADS. So many of them before the film had even started were what really got to me. Relentless Christmas supermarket ads. Presents, wrapping, turkey, sprouts. Prosecco, prosecco, prosecco. About 15 minutes' worth of ads. We all KNOW it is coming. The lorry does not lie, but do we need these constant ads hurled at us for weeks, really? (Also, isn't it funny how we associate Coke with Christmas? I want to see a lorry convoy carrying Advocaat, that's much more my jam).
My heart always goes out to those who see the adverts who might not have ten over for Christmas dinner this year like the ads suggest, who might not have anyone at all. Or for people who've lost loved ones: Christmas is a difficult time for that. The relentless advertising of what a great time we're all supposed to have is sometimes heartless, unfeeling, cold hard and corporate. I find that tough. That's not what it means to me.
I hope you can find time to do something not wholly capitalist this year. Buy a little less on Prime, go to some nice local markets and support local people who are making a living by making things. Donate to charity - did you know you can buy homeless people a Christmas dinner through Centrepoint? Donate to the food bank, to the Red Box Project which is aiming to end period poverty. At my work, we're going to be donating to The Hygiene Bank - for those in crisis who can't afford deodorant, sanitary products, shaving products or shampoo. We're also doing Secret Santa with a twist - every gift has to be purchased from a charity shop this year.
These are only little things, but in the run up to the craziest time of year, knowing that I'm doing these things is keeping me sane while Noddy Holder blares from every speaker. As I say, I love Christmas (in December), but as much as it's a time for presents and excess, it's also a time to reflect and be mindful. Which is what I must be more like when I get sat next to crisp-crunchers at the pictures...