I want to start this post by saying I love Christmas. It’s absolutely my favourite time of year. I’m the person who has fairy lights on their desk and wears reindeer antlers throughout December. I’m the person who always volunteers for the Christmas party planning committee and takes part in every secret Santa going. And I’m the person that looks forward to the Christmas adverts every year.
But last night I finally got round to watching the Marks and Spencer’s advert:
Something snapped. An uncontrollable rage came over me and hung around me all day. If you haven’t seen it, it tells the story of Mrs Claus who, having received a letter from a little boy, goes out on Christmas Eve to deliver his sister some new trainers because his dog chewed them up and actually he loves her even if she is a bit grumpy.
So what exactly was it that got me fuming? Was it the fact that the precocious boy thought it was entirely acceptable to send a letter to Mrs Claus so late on Christmas Eve that it arrives as Mr Claus is climbing aboard his sleigh? Is it that M&S thinks that high heels are appropriate footwear to fly a helicopter? Is it the fact that the parents don’t stuff the mince pies put out for Mr C immediately after the kids have gone to bed? No, the thing that got me snarling was the fact that Mrs Claus does all that, gets back to the Scandi lodge before the big guy and when he asks what her night had been like she just shrugs and says “oh quiet” as though it was all no big deal.
Well, that’s it I’m calling bullshit. Bullshit on this idea that we make Christmas magical and sparkly and we’re quite happy not getting any credit. A half little smile to ourselves and maybe a cheeky mince pie is all the thanks we need. Bull.Shit.
When Mr Claus asked about her night Mrs C should have been honest and said:
“Actually it was a fucking nightmare. I had to charter the helicopter halfway round the world because some little shit couldn’t be arsed to save his pocket money and trot down to M&S to buy his sister some trainers which his dog chewed up in the first place. My feet ache because those pissing shoes are too tight, I haven’t finished my book and I know full well you stopped at a KFC drive-thru rather than eat the cheese and pickle sandwich I made you. So frankly if you could stop kissing my head like I’m a little child and pour me whiskey I’d be much less likely to shove this holly up your jacksy.”
I’m sure that’s what she was thinking.
I’m so sick of this glorification of non-gratitude. As though Christmas is all the thanks we need. People are raving about the Sainsbury’s advert but do you know what I think would have been better? If, instead of being forced to clone himself a billion times to get everything done, his family had thought ‘ah Dad’s working hard, let’s take him a flask of coffee and a mince pie to his work’. Or if a co-worker had noticed he kept being late because of the trains (Southern Rail I assume) and offered him a lift. Or if his boss had realised that Christmas was actually their busiest time so hired some more staff.
Do you know why I like the John Lewis advert? Because finally, finally a parent gets some recognition. All these people complaining that it spoils Christmas because Santa doesn’t bring the trampoline are missing the point. I’ve never seen the big man in the freezing back garden at 11pm with a hammer and allen key trying to build a sodding trampoline. Take the credit. You deserve it.
There are people all over the country like me and you who are right now frantically planning, inviting, organising and jingle-belling an awesome Christmas and no one seems to care because it’s just expected. Of course they’ll be pigs in blankets and mulled wine and ribbon wrapped presents. Of course they’ll be a boxing day buffet and an advert candle and spare batteries. But it won’t be because of some fat guy in a sleigh. It will be because we’ve been to Aldi fifteen times in the last 48 hours and remembered to stock-up on Sellotape.
And I know some of you will be thinking that seeing my child’s face on Christmas morning is all the thanks I should need blah blah blah.
What do I want a medal?
Yes, I do actually. A fucking big one. And I want it presented to me and all my fellow unnoticed Christmas helpers, live on ITV in a ceremony hosted by Carol Vorderman. And I want our standing ovation to be next year’s M&S Christmas advert.
And there endeth the rant.Ho ho ho.