What’s a Good Christmas?

People always say ‘Have a good Christmas’ – but what does it actually mean? Here’s my answer – and I hope it brings you joy and merriment, just like a warming glass of your favourite tipple. Enjoy.

I had many good Christmases as a child, but depressingly it seems they’ve grown thinner as my adult life has worn on.

I feel no need to elaborate on why I find the festive season such a wretched experience these days.

Having neither children nor the inclination to fritter away hours of my life queuing in shops, buying needless gifts and receiving the same, for me the magic has long since worn off.

So instead of moaning about how awful Christmas is, I’ll set out what my ideal festive time would look like. You never know – one of these days, it could just happen.

For a start, I’d get at least four days off from work – including weekend if that’s when the big day falls, I’m not greedy.

Relatives as well as my ever-dwindling band of casual associates would be wished season’s greetings well in advance and informed of my non-contactability throughout the duration (close friends would be welcome to make contact as normal). They would all be absolutely fine with this and cheerily wish me well, perhaps raising a glass to my outrageous bohemianism.

I would then take myself off somewhere for the duration. It doesn’t really matter where. A log cabin, a cheap hotel (if there is such a thing) – anywhere, in fact, where there were no Santas, no Rudolphs, no tinsel, no baubles and no wretched Christmas adverts to get my goat (or should that be my turkey?).

The place where I found myself staying would have the following qualities:

a) Isolation coupled with accessibility (a most attractive combination)

b) Peace and quiet

c) Warmth and comfort (by that, I mean a reasonably comfy bed and chair or better yet, a recliner – c’mon, let’s push the boat out).

Once arrived at this Earthly paradise, I would occupy myself in whatever way I saw fit.

This could be pretty much anything, but would likely be a combination of reading, watching, listening to music, going for walks and so on.

Anything, in fact, other than doing stuff normally associated with Christmas – which of course, would be the whole point of my escape.

A TV set would be provided, but it would only be usable for the watching of films and / or documentaries.

On the film front I’d take a selection of DVDs with me – anything I own but have yet to watch.

As for documentaries, again, as long as it’s non-festive based, we’re good to go as far as I’m concerned.

Art history? Neuroscience? Philosophy? Re-runs of Bagpuss? You know me, TV, I’m easy to please. Just be gentle with me, okay? No surprise adverts showing plump happy shoppers slapping their back-pockets while the change they’ve saved jingles enticingly. No, quality is what I’m after – and plenty of it.

In effect, my little four-day sojourn to the land of somewhere or other would be a retreat – a glorious hibernation from everything – and I do mean everything – that’s loathsome about Christmas.

In fact, it wouldn’t matter much if the place I ended up were a shack on a desolate moorland with rain battering at the windows in a manner fit to raise the ghost of Heathcliff.

As long as Earl Grey tea were on-tap, a place to sleep were provided, enough food to last the duration, toilet facilities, my trusty ipod and some books to read, I’d be quite contented thanks very much.

The only downside would come when I faced the awful return to the so-called ‘real world’ with its endless fixations, the majority of which I could not care a fig for – whether contained in a pudding or not.

If like me, the above – or something resembling it, appeals far more than the usual round of dull parties, ghastly adverts, horrendous unsolicited gifts and irritating relatives, then I say good for you, sir or madam. And I hope your own version will come to pass – sooner rather than later.

Other than that, I wish you all bon chance and in the manner of ancient Rome, a happy Saturnalia marked with as much dicing and face-painting as a soul could wish. Be merry my friends, be merry. 


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