Finally, there’s a Christmas advert airing in November that doesn’t reduce me to a spluttering fit of “bah humbug”, but instead gets a resounding “huzzah”.
It’s just a pity it’s the Marks & Spencer one that so many people seem to hate. You know, the one with her from Ted Lasso feeding Christmas hats into a wood chipper, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor blowtorching Christmas cards. Go, girls!
The underlying message is one I’ve been banging on about for years. You should celebrate Christmas any way you like – “do only what you love”. Excellent point, well made.
As far as I’m concerned, Christmas today is an overblown nonsense focused on enforced jollity and a diktat about splurging time and money on tat and overpriced food, driven by saturation advertising from November 1.
And, yes, Markies is as guilty of that as any other retailer. I’m not so daft as to think the “do what you like” festive ad doesn’t carry the subliminal message of “as long as it’s at M&S”.
I’m old enough to remember when Christmas was something that started when you put your decorations up two weeks before December 25 and was over by Boxing Day. End of.
And, by the dint of that brevity, Christmas really was a special time of the year.
But now there’s two months of hard sell to be a good little consumer – oh, and if you’re not all one big happy family at Christmas, you’re doing it wrong.
Little wonder, then, that voices are now being heard suggesting societal expectations of a joy-filled Yuletide is creating a festive “monster” that leaves victims in its wake.
Just do Christmas how you want to do it
Professor Ewan Gillon, clinical director of First Psychology Assistance, has spoken out about January being the busiest time of the year for his profession because people have felt so low over Christmas. He suggests folk are left feeling not good enough because their lives don’t match the Christmas illusion being constantly fed to them.
Is that the meaning of Christmas for the 21st century, then? Keep up or burn out?
Maybe it is time to do exactly what the M&S anti-Christmas ad suggests – but perhaps not incinerating greeting cards in your kitchen (although baseball batting the Elf on the Shelf off a roof is a keeper).
Just do Christmas how you want to do it. And that can mean either embracing it fully, if you like and can, or just ignoring it completely, if that’s how you roll. Or something in the middle.
I know that December 25 in Begbie Towers is a lot less stressful since we dialled it all down, including the decision to stop cooking Christmas dinner from scratch and go to our local fine Indian restaurant instead.
Surely the best Christmas present would be not to expect everyone to say “ho, ho, ho” but give them the choice to say “no, no, no”?
Scott Begbie is a journalist and editor, as well as PR and comms manager for Aberdeen Inspired