As duly dull as the same Christmas album heard for the 118th time, is the loud voice of the Christmas cynic.
However those in the ‘service industry’ have greater reason to be in the grumps than most.
It isn’t actual Christmas that gets to us (provided we do actually get that day off, many don’t), it’s the weeks running up to it. More people get road rage, drink drive, get in fights, vomit on each other, have sex with someone inappropriate and catch Chlamydia, than any other time of year (ok maybe it’s not the service staff which suffer the most, it’s probably the nurses and cabbies).
Everyone shops too much, drinks too much and queues too much. The combination makes them bad tempered. They. Complain. About. Everything.
They are led to believe they should be enjoying this magical time of year, so along with the 300 other people in the room they get a bit narky if their food is late, or imperfect. Then they complain that you aren’t smiley enough, you haven’t played Mariah Carey in the past 15 minutes, and that your lack of a novelty hat or earrings, can only mean you hate Christmas and want to ruin it for everyone.
Yes, it’s a cliché to be cynical at Christmas. Spending 35 minutes waiting to be served a pint of lager and a glass of mulled wine, by staff who are on the verge of a mental breakdown, is lovely and uplifting. It really brings out the best in humanity.
(Please note, if a bartender smiles at you and cracks a joke any time around the 23rd of December, it can only mean one thing. They are drunk.)
Maybe the Christmas cynicism has deep roots, lots of marriages break down around this time. And if you were to psycho-analyse me for instance, you could look to ‘Snotty Lil’ aged ten. I was an understudy in a modern take on A Christmas Carol. I had to fill in for my friend at the last minute, without so much as a dress-rehearsal. I burst into floods of tears backstage, convinced that I’d forgotten the lines of Spooky Sukey the Small Ghost. I ruined the show.
But to be honest, I only have fond memories of Christmas, even that year. So before I am thrown into the chaos of December silly season, here are a few things about this time of year that will always remain magically unspoilt.
- Ace films…not necessarily Christmas themed, often a little naff Sci Fi… E.T, Batteries Not Included, Back to the Future…these shine like baubles between the utter dross of You’ve Got Mail, and Jingle All the Way. Two of the worst films ever made ever. Ever.
- Intense games of Monopoly that result in someone crying.
- Singing ‘It’ll be Lonely this Christmas’ to people of an emotional nature.
- The Muppets (this could go under the film section, but I feel Fozzy Bear, Gonzo and Kermit deserve so much more).
- The video to Michael Jackson’s Earth Song. Soo bad in such a fantastic way.
- Ally McBeal (or Ally McSqueal as it was more appropriately named by Adam & Joe), it was always Christmas in Ally McBeal wasn’t it? Wandering along the street in a scarf, looking maudlin about a broken heart. Nothing says Christmas quite like a neurotic romantic cliché.
- Getting away from the city and going for a walk on Christmas day and New Year’s day, feeling the crisp fresh air and hearing birds gossiping, knowing all the stressy bits are over for another year.
- Afore mentioned avante-garde school plays e.g. I once played a babies rattle. That’s the kind of shit Leigh Bowery (Vulva) dreamed of.
- Mr Hanky the Christmas Poo. If Christmas didn’t exist, neither would Mr Hanky. And then I truly would’ve hated school, as I wouldn’t have been able to shrill ‘Hidey Ho Folks’ to cheer myself up after the bullies on the girls football team gave me a ‘Bestwood pep-talk’.
I’m wisely getting this optimism out of my system, before the worst kicks in. But a few words of advice seem appropriate. Firstly dilute the seasonal songs. I recommend Otis, Smokey, James Brown and The Knife’s ‘Reindeer’ song. You keep the warm fuzzy (fozzy) feeling, without torturing the people who have to listen to Mariah Carey over and over again – that’s the kinda shit they did to Iraqi war prisoners, to make them go insane. Secondly – Do. Not. Try. To. Force. Me . To. Wear. A. Novelty. Hat – if you like your face, and don’t want it festively decorated with smashed glass. Lastly – Don’t tell me to smile, cheer up, or get into the Christmas spirit. Accept that my grimace took a lot of preparation, and buy me a f**kin drink. There is a mysterious cure-all medicine we sell called Tuaca.
Over & owt