To One And All!
By CORA BURRIDGE | December 17, 2019
Cover photo by Elisa Morand / The Amsterdammer
Christmas decorations surrounding the Amsterdam canals.
This week, in the southern state of Texas, where Trump voters reign supreme and cheese comes out of a squirt can, a couple were sent an accusatory letter by their housing association. The missive contained the demand that the owners of the house take down their christmas decorations which had been erected on November 1st: the shock, the horror, the scandal! The fairy lights, Christmas tree and inflatable snowman represented all that was wrong with current Christmas consumerism; the snowman giving a metaphorical middle finger to the sacred Christmas period, extending it further and further away from Jesus’ day of birth.
Indeed, in the last few years, we are seeing more and more restrictions on the allowed date for individuals and public organisations to start setting up their trees, throw around the tinsels and unleash their baubles. Poor Michael Bublé is being forced back into his cave at any sign of trying to escape before December 1st. For example, this year the infamous Oxford Street lights in London were turned on on November 21st, the latest day since 2003, in response to feedback from people who preferred them to be turned on later. It has become a common trope of the festive season, almost a new tradition, for people to complain that the onset of Christmas is earlier and earlier each year, practically overlapping with Halloween.
Of course, I will be the first to acknowledge that Christmas is indeed arriving earlier each year, one would have to live in a cave in the middle of the Amazon not to notice this. Living in Amsterdam this year, the Christmas lights seem to have been turned on even before Halloween, adding a much needed Christmassy spirit to the skeleton clad drunk British tourists roaming the streets. Yet, I am unable to view this extended Christmas period as a bad thing, if anything we should draw it out through January, the most miserable and grey time of the year.
Christmas is the epitome of human celebration: alcohol, food and more alcohol. Over the years, it has become more detached from its religious origins, allowing it to be an inclusive holiday season for all people. Christmas music is, without a doubt, the most joyous genre of this artistic form. I dare anyone to not join in on the “and I…” in Mariah Carey’s seminal work All I Want for Christmas is You. There cannot be a single person on earth who does not welcome the warming, velvety smooth croonings of Mr Bublé. The celebration brings family and friends together and inevitably breaks them apart following the ritual game of Monopoly, teaching us all valuable capitalist lessons about the property market and how to bribe your way out of jail for 50 euros. Finally, the celebration allows us to eat without restraint; want to eat chocolate at 7am? Go for it! Fancy three helpings of roasted potatoes and the inevitable food coma that follows? It’s what the day is all about. After all, come New Year’s Eve, you’ll be on that new diet and fitness regime that will last for two days once you realise that food and the bed is all the comfort we have left in these worrying times.
Therefore, bring on the early Christmas festivities and decorations! Life’s too short not to spend it surrounded by fairy lights, choirs of frostbitten carolling children and Wham’s hauntingly poetic ballad ‘Last Christmas’. To the couple in Texas, I say thank you for your festive spirit – if nothing else, you’ve given me an excuse to listen to Christmas music guilt free whilst writing this piece – in the immortal words of Michael Bublé and Bing Crosby, ‘it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!’
Cora Burridge is a masters student at the University of Amsterdam. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of The Amsterdammer.