As you may have previously read, I love Christmas. I love tinsel and trees and frost and cold and novelty wrapping paper. I love being wrapped up warm inside with a cat. I love giving my friends and family gifts, watching their eyes light up with joy. Or pure bewilderment. (I’m giving one of my friends a cardboard cutout of David Cameron, and another a pillow with Benedict Cumberbatch on…) But what I truly hate, in the manner of the Grinch, are crowds. Throngs of people hell-bent on some ‘serious’ Christmas shopping – just the thought makes me tremble with hate.
I’m not a ‘people person’ at the best of times; there are very few people that I truly love, and believe you me, you’ll know if I like you or not. I often wish I was a cat, because then I could just hiss/pee, and then whomsoever is bothering me will get the message to sod off. Sadly, I’m a human, and society dictates that hissing and peeing are out of the question.
When confronted with a crowd, my first thought is to flee. Yesterday, I arrived early at Bath to see a production at the Ustinov, and so I, O foolish being!, decided to wander around the Christmas Market, which is rather famous and attracts people from across the world. However ‘wander’ is not quite the right word. I ended up standing stock-still in a heaving throng of people, unable to move or see beyond shoulders and scarves. So much for the joyful spirit of Christmas. There were arguments breaking out – I witnessed several incidents were people threatened to call the police – and shoppers with large bags just barged their way through queues, talking noisily into unnecessarily large mobile phones. And there was little old me, attempting to buy some presents before I rushed off to the theatre. I didn’t buy anything bar my theatre tickets.
I ended up taking refuge in a bookshop; something that I do quite often, actually. Away from the crowds, away from the supposed Christmas spirit that made everyone gracious, grateful, and generous. It’s not supposed to transform people into raving lunatics, who would sell their own children in order to get 10 % off. Since when have presents taken prominence?
A few of my friends have asked for things this year that cost hundreds of pounds. New phones, new laptops. Whenever I’ve asked for something expensive, I’ve paid for half of it myself – this year, I’ve asked for a book token, the box set of Cabin Pressure and theatre tickets. I don’t want my parents to fork out for something that’s going to break; I want memories. I want something to look back on, that reincarnates the vivid imagery of Christmas cheer and time well spent with my family.
So if you’re going to be joining the masses on the high street this month, be aware. Take time to BE NICE TO PEOPLE. Patience doesn’t cost you anything unless you’re about to miss your train. If the latter is true, then FIND A SIDE STREET AND RUN.
And if one of your kin asks for something unnecessary (and unnecessarily expensive), buy them a book instead. Or theatre tickets. Please – drag them, regardless of their kicking and screaming, into a majestic place where the written word reigns. This generation needs to be salvaged from a hell of social media, before they’re captured in an abyss of contrived selfies and Facebook ‘friends’.
Do I sound like the Grinch to you? Any thoughts and I’d love to hear from you x x.