Contrary to my earlier post on this subject ten days ago it’s now 1st December and I don’t feel Christmassy at all! So this post is going to act as a short, gloomy antidote to the sense of childlike expectation that inhabited that piece.
Being English, my natural response is to blame the weather – it remains unconscionably mild, despite dire warnings in September that we would be mired in deep snow long before now, as we were last year. This morning’s intermittent squalls and drizzle add to the cheerless atmosphere that pervades our high streets and shopping centres.
Minor celebrities may have descended to earth to switch on the lights and begin rehearsals for their pantomimes, anxious retailers may be offering ever more tantalising discounts and Dean Martin may be imploring it to snow, but there is a pervading gloom that I have witnessed in four separate Kent towns over the same number of days this week. The economic situation is, of course, an important factor. That said, I do not see any obvious signs that people are reining in their spending, with bargains available on so many popular gift items.
No, what is most striking is the grudging, almost resentful manner in which people are going about their festive preparations. Christmas seems an imposition, and an expensive one at that, at a time when the traditional British approach of “getting by” is what is preoccupying many people. This is mirrored too in the paucity of Christmas trees, lights and decorations adorning domestic homes. I cannot recall seeing so few this “late” into the season.
Despite the prompt I gave myself over a week ago, the CDs and DVDs continue to hibernate in dusty ignorance in assorted cupboards around the house. Billy Bob Thornton will be in an especially foul mood when he is roused to reprise his seminal role as Bad Santa. I have even resisted the blandishments of the twenty four hour TV movies channel too, though that is not that difficult as it generally churns out a surfeit of bland, syrupy made for TV films, interspersed all too rarely with classics such as A Christmas Carol with the wonderful Alistair Sim.
But I should not be complaining. After all, I began my previous post by lamenting that Christmas forced itself upon me earlier and earlier with each passing year. I can’t have it both ways can I?