Christmas is here

Actually, it seems like Xmas has been here since Easter. Certainly, pubs and restaurants were taking last minute Christmas bookings in July, some people I know had decorations up in October, I wrote my (few) cards weeks ago. The food delivery services were saying get your last minute booking in September.

When I was little, Xmas was a big thing for several reasons. The country came to a halt basically from Christmas Eve until after the new year. Shops were rarely open, people didn’t go out. It was dismal. All you could do was stay home, watch tv, eat and argue.

But now there are plenty of places open on Xmas Day even. OK, public transport does not run, except certain services, and taxis charge a fortune, but pubs and restaurants are open and busy, and many shops. By Boxing Day, it’s back to normal (the USA don’t have Boxing Day) in the UK. Some, not many but some, people work. The sales are on, everyone literally does DIY.

The need to buy a 15 tonne turkey to get a family of 4 through 3 weeks seems to have gone. Whatever made Xmas special, and that does not mean good, is no more. Here in the UK, we are becoming even more American.

Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with turkey, then the next day it’s sales. After Xmas day, USA shops are open for people to return gifts for something they actually want. We don’t do that here – you can’t really return stuff unless it is faulty. We’ve mostly forgotten the so-called religious significance, thank goodness, and it’s a time for shops to count their profits. Don’t make expected sales at Xmas and you are doomed for the year.