Man About Town: Christmas makes me lose all of my usual cynicism

DO you know something? No matter how hard I try, I cannot be cynical about Christmas.

But then I’ve always rooted for the underdog and I think today, sadly, this is precisely what Christmas, or the ‘spirit’ of Christmas has become.

And mainly because it’s just too plain easy.

After all, the easy laugh is always the cruel one. The more rewarding is the gentle jest.

The problem, of course, is that the next three days boast as large a bullseye as any professional cynic could wish to aim for – it is touchy-feely, it is dripped in schmaltz and it is iced in cheery naivety.

And the season isn’t helped by the fact that, in recent years, there has been a deliberate attempt by certain councils to reinvent what Christmas is all about. Particularly by giving it names they believe will sum up the ‘hopes and fears of all the years’.

‘Winterval’ is its most popular reimagining, but to be honest, I’d rather watch back-to-back episodes of Emmerdale than stoop to shake the hands of those who dreamt this up.

After all, what kind of cheerless, grey world do these sad, so-called idealists inhabit? And why do they feel so qualified – and elected – to take it upon their own shoulders to redress what they alone regard as some kind of grievance (against just whom or what I’ve never been sure, but surely even to an athiest, the spirit and sentiment of Christmas – swaddling clothes, Santa, holly – are hardly issues worth sacrificing the office party over).

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But despite any of that, what makes anyone decide that the joy of literally billions of people is theirs alone to puncture and deflate?

So putting it bluntly, killjoys such as these should be named and shamed. In fact, as part of paying back their debt to society, they should be forced to work behind the perfume counters in Debenhams on Christmas Eve. Or, better still, operate the last buses home because, for all its faults, the last two weeks of December are still reason enough to be ‘jolly’.

Naturally I appreciate that for many people, this Yuletide period only helps exaggerate current demons and misfortunes.

Yet I am constantly amazed at just how many people, clearly burdened by all sorts of problems, still make an effort to help those less well-off than themselves.

So in short, I’m a lost cause. I buy into it all, happily, and actually feel relieved I can put my own natural cynicism on hold.

I’ve no idea if Christ really was born on December 25, or whether he really was the product of a virgin birth, but if it means there’ll still be Nativities and Salvation Army bands and half-chewed carrots left out for Santa, then, dammit, I’m a happy man.

t: @oxmailjsmith


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