For many women, Christmas is a bit like a cross between a brick wall and Robin Thicke. You can rage and hammer your fists against it, but it just stands there, wearing festive aviator shades and smirking ‘You know you want it’.
It’s not too bad at first. There’s the delicious preparation, and who doesn’t like choosing crackers – what, do you have a heart of STONE? Then there’s the delightful question of what to put on the tree. Everyone gets a bit apprehensive in the run-up to Christmas, when we’re blinded by tinsel and cinnamon Glade Plug-ins. Even a crap pair of hair straighteners from Argos seems like a twinkling, magical gift from the heavens when it’s sitting beneath 50 LED lights and baubles in the shape of the Baby Jesus.
Then the siege mentality strikes and you fall down a wormhole into the bad old days. The worst thing is that nobody even knows you’re there. At the exact moment you’re in the kitchen losing your mind, everyone else is sitting in front of the TV, selecting exactly the right variety of Quality Street to suit their mood and saying “This is the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER.”
It’s such a tedious cliché, isn’t it? Does it have to be this way? Well, no, obviously, you can do what you like with your Christmas. You can go to a hotel. You can have Christmas dinner while paragliding off Machu Picchu or go and eat hallucinogenic tree bark in Paraguay. Christmas isn’t the boss of us, right?
Well, it kind of is, if you have a family. Christmas is, after all, based on doing the same things every year. In my experience, the only man who does any real work at Christmas is Santa. (Sorry men – cutting little crosses in the bottoms of the sprouts isn’t a job). Like the depressing aisles of Iceland, Christmas is Mum’s domain, and it’s a tradition that sticks harder than bread sauce to a tablecloth. Take my poor mother. She once embarked on a night class called ‘Countdown to Christmas’ which nearly killed her before she had a chance to unsheath the cling film on her Christmas log.
And if you’re not a parent, it’s still shit. Christmas parties, especially work parties, always manage to turn back the clock to the era when Brut reigned supreme. Lurching men with mistletoe. Groping. Innuendo. “Smile, love, it’s Christmas.” “Feel my cock, it’s Christmas.” The expectation is that you’ll be drunk enough to finally get over your profound lack of interest in them, because, well, it’s CHRISTMAS, and God wants us all to have a knee trembler ‘round the back of the bins.
You really can’t get away from it. Even the songs have an unpleasant edge. Take ‘It’s Cold Outside’ (massively rapey), or ‘Santa Baby’ (infantilising bullshit) or ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’ (who are we to judge Mommy on her weird sexual preferences?).
To add to the sexually dubious vibe, it doesn’t help that while we’re being stalked, spiked and harassed by sausage rolls we’re forced to wear glittery make-up that makes us look like Roy Wood from Wizard. No wonder Christmas party dresses are almost always black. That’s to symbolise an entire gender having decades of hard-fought freedom yanked away from them every year.
So this time, can we please have a feminist Christmas? Can we ask Mrs Claus to drive the sleigh, demand that someone else does the dinner, and go to parties where we’re not required to wear flashing earrings and tongue the boss? Because even though we all have to listen to Slade every bleedin’ year, there’s really no reason for Christmas to be stuck in 1973.
Lucy tweets: @lucytweet1.