My family aren’t like the ones in ads, come Christmas they’re asleep


Sleigh bells ring, hear them ringing? Well, actually, no as it is mid-November and Christmas is next month. But anyone would think it was next week the way a commercial breaks are reading: Christmas themed advertisement after Christmas themed advertisement, a constant bombardment of festive cheer.

Yes, I admit that they do make me happy, warm and fuzzy inside etc, etc. And yes, I admit the John Lewis advert brought me to tears one emotional afternoon. But it’s November, a whole month until Christmas. I know that companies want to make as much money as possible out of this holiday season but something isn’t quite right with all of this very persuasive advertising.

First of all what these adverts are doing goes pretty much against the meaning of Christmas itself. They’re a sign that we have got it all wrong. Christmas isn’t about a constant stream of consumerism, but that’s what it is being transformed into.

Secondly, on principle I won’t do anything remotely Christmas until the first day of December, and I don’t appreciate being coerced into being Christmassy a single day before.

But, with regret, I have to say I think the adverts are winning. I’m feeling Christmassy. I can resist thinking about what I can buy everyone and what I can cook on Christmas Day, and generally getting very excited about Christmas. And its still only November.

I will spend the next month thinking about Christmas, planning for Christmas, going to Christmas parties and even having fake Christmas dinners with my university friends. After months of preparation and partying, being hyped up and excited by every advert, by the time it gets to Christmas Day it’s all going to feel like a great big let down.

Real life isn’t like the adverts. My family don’t look or act anything like the ones on the television. They are not unbelievably happy, come Christmas Day they are mostly asleep and snoring louder than is ever acceptable or having a heated debate verging on World War Three. I’ll realise that after only two weeks of being back that I cannot live with them any more and they are all highly irritating in their own special little ways.

My little sisters aren’t eagerly waiting up for a glimpse of Father Christmas or running downstairs greedily at 5am to see if he has been, in fact, we they are ready lazy and not bothered at all, sleeping in until midday, nothing like the advert.

My Christmas dinner is just an ordinary Christmas dinner, not at M&S Christmas dinner. Everything will be overcooked, burnt and soggy and nothing will every look as tasty as the food on the adverts no matter how hard Mum tries. The Christmas pudding is not moist and warm but crumbly and soaked in far too much brandy to be edible. And your Marks and Spencer’s succulent turkey does not even come into the equation. I’m vegetarian, it kind of takes the shine off a Christmas dinner.

The presents I get are not the beautiful dress I saw in the Topshop window display and I got nothing I said I liked off the television. In fact will probably get nothing I wanted at all and will get something highly practical from my parents. Last year it was books “for my studies”. Thanks that’s all I needed Christmas Day, a reminder I have hundreds of essays to write and books to read.

I love buying pressies for everyone, but coming to university I seem to have landed myself in a lot of debt so this is no longer possible. This makes adverts with 100 and one gifts that would be perfect for my family, my boyfriend, my friends, all the more painful to watch knowing that I can’t buy them the perfect gift and they will more than likely end up with a wonderful handmade creation.

The big companies out there are not just selling us our Christmas dinner, the present that will ultimately be forgotten soon after Boxing Day and all the trimmings that come with the festive period, they are selling us the ideal Christmas, an ideal family life, one that I do not believe really exists. Leading us only to feel disappointed and down heartened come December 25.

Its not that I’m opposed to this shoving of Christmas in our faces. I’m no Mr. Scrooge. I love Christmas, but my own version where my family is dysfunctional, and the Christmas dinner is burnt and frankly vile. I don’t want to get taunted with all these wonderful gifts when my pitiful student loan (and my love of going out) mean that I can’t get anyone anything special or even half decent and if past years are anything to go by I want be receiving any either.

So, yes, November is too early to sell the Christmas dream to us, but if it’s going to be done can’t we at least have a realistic one, family arguments and all.

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