I like Christmas. Sorry Asda!

I like Christmas, I like the tree and the cold weather and the crap telly. I must admit that I find Christmas day a bore, but Christmas Eve is still lovely. My children still whoop and holler when opening the early Christmas present and although it’s always new pyjamas they are still delighted. Last year we had our Christmas dinner on Boxing Day and we forgot the crackers.
Lately though, I am feeling the need to dread Christmas. Recent adverts by Asda and Morrisons have put me right off the idea and I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve been doing it all wrong for the last 20 years.
Y’see, according to these adverts women are not meant to enjoy Christmas. We are not meant to relax and enjoy being with our families. We are, in fact, meant to work our arses off tirelessly and without thanks from our ungrateful partners and children. By the looks of the Asda Christmas I am meant to suffer a near fatal heart attack by Boxing Day and if I don’t I have failed as a mother. Ok, maybe not a heart attack, maybe just a nervous breakdown. It’s more likely to be a relationship breakdown. The most common argument between parents is the share of household chores yet we create a thousand more over the festive period.
I have heard lots of people come out against these weird versions of Christmas, but I have also heard women gleefully cheer “YES!!! That’s me!!”. My question would be… WHY????
Why on earth would this be the Christmas you would choose? Why choose drudgery over relaxation? Why choose bought perfection over put your bloody feet up and enjoy it? I have a theory and you may not like it…
I would suggest that some women like this drudgery. Some women perpetuate the myths around motherhood that mean they will forever more be exhausted, unthanked and tied to the home. More than that, they will smile through it all because they are so bloody saintly. Why they would do this has always bothered me, I have friends who start planning Christmas in Easter and by Halloween are at their wits end. Still they will not let go of the reins, still they will not release their control over this one perfect day. It’s like this one day is their only opportunity to show and tell their housekeeping talents. Which is fine. Just don’t expect the rest of us to do it.
When women take (or are given) this much control it leaves little space for men. When women are seen to be the experts (either by themselves, society, media or systems) at something whether it’s decorating the house, the tree or being a parent it moves men and fathers into a secondary space, a space less skilled and less valued. As this happens we embed inequality for both men and women.
For a few years running I invited the whole family, a total of 15 people, to my house on Christmas day. Me and my husband (now ex but it wasn’t Christmas related!) cooked a fine three course dinner with all the trimmings, a selection of vegetarian dishes, plenty of good wines and we missed the whole feckin day. My sister was upset that I hadn’t got napkin holders, my mother was fed up because I hadn’t got names cards on the table and she had to sit by the children (she should have been quicker!). We were fed up because from 10am all we had done was try our best to create a perfect day and I well pissed off because I was getting the bloody blame. Now they know if they visit on Christmas day they will more than likely find us all in Pyjamas, watching the tv and scoffing twiglets. The carpet will need hovering and the dog will have pissed up the tree. We will be happy though, we wont be stressed and I wont be doing a bad impression of a fifties housewife.
I worry for a society that celebrates the birth of the son of God which such pomp and blame, glitter and drudge and such high costs, financially and personally

One thought on “I like Christmas. Sorry Asda!

  1. I agree no more manic shopping decorating etc for me I will not do anything until someone notices that it isnt done hopefully they wont ! I have little time off work and I am going to spend itin a state of suspended animation and chilling I have given my what little s left of my extended family mosquito nets chickens seeds etc for the third world all got in one fell swoop in oxfam and no awkward parcels to manouvere to the post office .

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