GOOD THINGS ABOUT CHRISTMAS:
1. Sleigh Ride by the Ronettes
Of course there are tons of awful Christmas songs which make me wish that I had ear-lids, but when you walk into a shop in December and playing this, it makes you glad it’s Christmas again. So many people dismiss Christmas songs, ‘I hate them, They all suck!’ – but when people have that kind of attitude, they will just miss a gem like this one.
Ronnie has a beautiful voice, one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. I love the story about how the Ronettes got famous. They were dancers during the Twist era, and were mistaken by the manager to be the singing group who were late, and the girls were ushered onto the stage. They sang ‘What’d I Say’ by Ray Charles and everyone loved it.
They play ‘Sleigh Ride’ in all the boutique shops in Brighton, which is one of the best places in the world to go Christmas shopping, so it makes me think of being by the sea. It makes me feel really happy and nostalgic all at once!
2. Driving past a house and seeing an awesome snowman
You can tell whoever made this snowman was really, really excited that it snowed. I love this snowman’s waving branch arms and happy-looking face.
3. The Salvation Army Band playing carols
Brass bands are f-ing awesome, and the Salvation Army are always the best of the bunch. They are always faultless when I see them playing in town centres. I once saw the Salvation Army playing Christmas music as they marched down Oxford Street and there were tourists snapping pictures and London buses and cars and Christmas shoppers getting in their way and they did not miss a beat. I always feel really lucky to be able to hear their music, but especially their Christmas stuff. My Grandad was a conductor of the Salvation Army when he was alive, and whenever I hear the music they play, I think of him.
4. People who go overboard with Christmas lights
‘It’s tacky’, ‘It looks awful’ – This is what most people say when they see a house brightly lit with millions of fairy lights. But seeing a house lit up always makes me feel so joyful. Most of the year, houses are pretty boring. Sometimes people grow flowers around their homes or have a ‘For Sale’ sign up, but in Christmas some people just want to celebrate being alive with lights and colour and happiness. It’s like a vicseral feeling of joy when you see how much time and energy went into creating the spectacle.
I grew up in a place where there were not a lot of Christmas lights on houses, so driving past one was always really exciting. The best ones not only had tons of lights, but an inflatable Father Christmas on the roof, too.
5. More exciting drinks at Coffee Shops
I usually go to Coffee Shops to escape the cold weather outside and to work on my laptop while sitting in a lovely cosy chair. The drink tends to be an afterthought. In the summer, it’s great to sip on a vanilla milkshake while writing but at Christmas time, the Coffee Shops suddenley get creative. You look up at the menu board and see so many fun drinks, like peppermint mocha, gingerbread hot chocolate, eggnog latte – even the gross ones seem more compelling because they’re unusual.
BAD THINGS ABOUT CHRISTMAS:
1. Ridiculously long queues in every single shop
2. Having tons of shopping, so many bags that it makes your arms feel achey, and then you finally get to the bus stop, and find your bus pass and that’s when you realise you’ve forgotten the wrapping paper.
3. Feeling under pressure to buy people awesome stuff, because they are awesome, but feeling bad because you’re skint so you can’t.
4. Comedy panel shows on Channel 4 with a Christmas theme.
5. ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day’ by Slade.