Mark Simpson proposes a radical solution to the cold-turkey chasm between Xmas & New Year
You know that queasy, hungover, fed-up-to-the-gills feeling of not knowing what day of the week it is – or what year? Wondering whether the banks will be open or not and whether you can be bothered to brave the freezing crowds and the thronging fog and exchange those fluffy Bhs slippers for something more fetching?
That sense of quietly increasing secret dread at the imminent approach of another bout of slightly hysterical binge-drinking and smiling at people you’d much rather spit in the eye?
Yes, the festering season is upon us – that fag-end, cold-turkey, limbo-time between Christmas and New Year that cruelly drags out the whole experience by another four days but feels like a fortnight of 1970s Sundays.
The sheer numbing tedium and disorientation of the festering season drives people to do crazy things – like accepting invitations to visit friends and relatives you haven’t seen for ages. Only to remember – too late! – that the reason it’s been so long is that you can’t stand them.
Worse, some people even find themselves reduced to spending time with their partners.
The festering season is clearly a major social problem that needs an urgent solution.
Fortunately, I’ve come up with one. What’s needed is a Christmas Anschluss: a union of Christmas and New Year. For far too long, Christmas and New Year have been artificially divorced by that demoralising boundary period in between. Soaked in booze and regrets, festooned with goodwill and domestics, they obviously deserve one another. It’s time to bring them together.
By moving New Year’s Eve to Boxing Day, we can eliminate that date-nibbling, walnut-cracking period spent wondering whether to treat ourselves to another sweet sherry or not. We can all get completely rat-arsed on Christmas Eve and not sober up until New Year’s Day.
One moment you’re putting out milk and mince-pies for Santa, the next you’re waking up on someone’s sofa with an end-of-the-world hangover, your pants around your head, smelling of candied fruit and vomit.
Alternatively – and this happens to be my personal preference – New Year could be run parallel with Christmas. A simultaneous billing of the two festivals would shorten the whole experience down to a more humane – and liver-sparing – two days instead of three. Even better, it gives you the perfect get-out to spare the feelings of those who you don’t want to spend either event with, as well as providing those people who just don’t like either Christmas or New Year – or both – the opportunity to opt out completely.
“Oh, sorry,” you’d say, “I’d love to come to yours and gnaw my leg off with boredom this Christmas but unfortunately I can’t – I’m doing New Year this year.”
Or, when invited to a New Year’s Eve bash: “Oh, that’s a shame, I’d adore to come out with you and the gang and shout ‘HAPPY NEW YEAR!!’ at total strangers so aggressively that I manage to cover them in gob even though they’re on the other side of the street, but I’ve already promised to do Christmas instead.”
(Independent on Sunday, 23/12 2007)