Christmas debate: Pete Horton

MHRA 20-12-11 XMAS feature Dec87''Pete Horton
MHRA 20-12-11 XMAS feature Dec87''Pete Horton

MUCH to the dismay of my long-suffering family, the annual silly season of chiming, plastic tat baffles me. I wouldn’t moan about it anywhere near as much if I could simply opt out somehow – but unless you can afford return flights to Riyadh it’s impossible. There is no escape.

I should probably point out here - before I upset too many people - that if you’re religious, or look after children, then I can (begrudgingly) at least pretend to see the appeal and declare that the following rant doesn’t apply to you, so have a merry Christmas. But if neither of those do apply...

The more I look at Christmas the more ridiculous it appears: flashing lights, fake snow (or worse: real snow), ridiculous songs, disgusting food, patronising television adverts and the unrelenting decked-out drill of capitalism, boring through your wallet, stomach and soul. And while society gorges, drinks and spends in the name of Jesus, the forgotten will sit alone, stinging in their living room, their sense of isolation and sadness amplified by the garish wonderland outside.

The eerie spirit of Christmas doesn’t enchant me – it haunts me, every year, for three unrelenting months. It doesn’t just grind my gears in the same way that traffic jams, wasps and daytime television do. For me it represents the very worst parts of our culture – greed, unrelenting capitalism and decadence. You might think I sound like a whining suburban leftie, and you’d be right, but aren’t those the reasons why more and more people are spending Christmas Day in debt and in fuel poverty?

After so many weeks of rubbish sweaters, fairy tales and tacky plastic décor I become convinced that humanity has lost the plot. Fully grown adults seem to transform into swivel-eyed lunatics, gleefully clapping along to the loopy off-key Christmas tune.

All I want to do is plead, “thanks, but no thanks”. But that’s impossible; all I can do is sit tight and remember that it will all be over by this time next week.