Why Won't Cliff Die?

ďChristmas Time, Mistletoe and WineĒ as the late, great Cliff Richard once sang about this time of year. (I realise heís not actually dead but hereís hoping! It is Christmas after all and wishes can come true.) Unfortunately, it rather seems these days that mistletoe and wine would be a long way down the list of things people associate with Christmas.

My original thoughts for the seasonal column was a traditional rant on why Christmas is now crap, e.g. decorations in my local on the 25th November; the lack of Xbox 360s in the shops; and the traditional works outing where for the price of a meal and a couple of drinks youíre supposed to forget what a cunt your boss is for the rest of the year (Note to self: must remember to delete this from my the PC at work Iím typing it on). However, it seems too much of an easy target. Like kicking that wanky bear with the sling over its eye from Children in Need.

So if Christmas is no longer about mistletoe, and wine has been replaced by several WKDs, and the traditional nuclear family opening their presents by a tree seems like a rather quaint notion what should Christmas be all about?

It seems to me that if you needed one word to sum up Christmas (and I do if this column is going to have some kind of point) it would have to be: pressure. There seems enormous pressure for parents to buy the right presents for their kids; pressure from both advertising and the umpteen seasonal episodes of your favourite shows to have a wonderful time; pressure to have an enormous turkey dinner; and pressure for families to all manage to get on together for the whole day. That the build up to the big day now seems to start around the middle of November only seems to make it worse. Doesnít seem like a great idea for a holiday to me.

But what to do about it? Iím not a Scrooge. I donít want to ban Christmas or spoil anyoneís fun. I think itís a great time for family and friends to come together. Iíd just like to see us all try and put some of the fun back into it.