The Opposite of Popular

The online home of alleged author Victoria Leybourne

2016 Week Forty-Nine: Christmas or Whatever

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Well, I don’t think I’ll blow any minds if I make the observation that Christmas as an adult isn’t quite the unadulterated fun-fest it is when you’re a child.

I mean, here I am in 1995 as a glorious Christmas angel fairy thing:

gif of me in wings and a halo, waving a wand and leaping

If you’re wondering what I’m saying… well, as best as I can tell, it’s “angels come, with a bit of…. BUM!” I have no explanation for this.

I can’t be bothered to make a gif of myself celebrating Christmas in 2016 but, if I did, it would just be me looking at a credit card bill morosely and then eating some turkey. I want to love it, but I always get caught up in stress: about how much it costs, about whether I’ve got people presents that they’ll like and that show how much I like them and that are as good as the presents they’ve got me, about whether I’m having as good a time as I should be because it’s Christmas goddamnit, and about, you know, rampant consumerism. Last year I saw Easter eggs in a convenience store on Boxing Day and cried a bit.

You know me. I can ruin anything by worrying about it. However, in an effort to make this not-the-case, and to show a bit of festive spirit, here are my five favourite things about Christmas.

#5 Shiny things

I’m not great at coping with winter. I used to say it was my favourite season, but I think that might have been because it contains both Christmas and my birthday so has always been quite profitable, present-wise. These days, waking up in the dark, leaving work in the dark and spending the time in between stewing in a dreary grey excuse for daylight saps out all my energy and joie de vivre – and, frankly, I’m short on both at the best of times. However, the proliferation of lights and sparkly things at Christmas definitely mitigates some of that for me. And then there’s this amazing Christmas decoration Carl gave me last year:

a Christmas ornament of the Beast from Disney's Beauty and the Beast taking a bath and looking unhappy about it

#4 The Night Before Christmas

My dad used to read this to me and my sister every Christmas Eve (as part of an elaborate ritual designed to get us to oh please please please go to sleep) and it still makes me feel a little cozy and excited for what’s to come.

#3 Food

I love food. Christmas Day is like 90% about food for me. (Life is 90% about food for me, let’s be honest.) I often like to shake it up a bit and go for different meat in the roast dinner but we’re having the traditional turkey this year. Even better, Carl’s in charge of cooking it! I’ll probably take control of the roast potatoes, though. Potatoes are my area of expertise. I’m a potato whisperer.

#2 Arthur Christmas

This is just a really, really funny movie. Carl and I quote it all the time (“Ye baubles, a beautiful young reindeer!”) but hardly anyone seems to have seen it. YOU SHOULD SEE IT.

#1 The Muppet Christmas Carol

I came to The Muppet Christmas Carol later in life than I should have. It came out in 1992, when I was a toddler, but I didn’t see it until 2010, when I was a student (a state that has quite a lot in common with being a toddler, to be honest). I’d barely heard of it before then but the more cosmopolitan, worldly-wise types I was at university with met my ignorance with an incredulity that I didn’t understand at the time, and now lavish on similarly-deprived people when I meet them.

Quite simply, this film is 85 minutes of pure bliss. Up until I saw it, my favourite adaptation of A Christmas Carol was this one, with Patrick Stewart:

And yeah, it’s pretty good, and features a lot of excellent acting, but do you know how many musical numbers with puppets it has? None. And that is no longer acceptable to me.

I rest my case. Merry Christmas.

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