Is there anything you love to hate about Christmas?
PUBLISHED: 18:00 21 December 2018
Matthew Usher Photography
‘Tis the season to be jolly, and we certainly don’t want to be Grinches! But just a few things can get annoying. Here is a selection of people’s lighthearted festive gripes.
In a Twitter poll, disappointing TV specials came out as the top thing people love to hate about Christmas, ahead of Brussels sprouts in second place. Of the other choices in our poll, Secret Santa came third and Christmas music in shops fourth.
David Vincent writes: “Some Christmas specials aren’t special at all, just to chance to flog a sad old format. I made the mistake of watching Mrs Brown’s Boys two Christmases ago. Never again, smut and innuendo works in Carry On, but this was like a bloke in the pub telling embarrassing jokes, while dressed as a woman.
“Not suitable for a family viewing, and yet given a prime slot. This old horse should be put out of its misery.”
Christmas Radio Times
Still on the TV theme, Nick Richards, from Norwich, is not a fan of this particular festive magazine. He writes: “It arrives like a tinsel-clad legal document cementing your life for a fortnight, trapping you inside, staring at the telly and eating too many chocolates. I can’t think of anything worse than getting a marker pen and pre-arranging just when you won’t be free to venture out of the house, because you’ve got to watch The Snowman for the 33rd time. My dad used to hold what bordered on a ceremony at the start of January when the Radio Times ran out when he could finally tear it up.
If I was to let it enter my house I’d also be counting down the days until I could launch it towards the recycling bin.”
Christmas trees and decorations going up too early
Emily Cotton writes: “Decorating a tree for Christmas is a tradition that apparently dates back to the Roman era. Traditionally they waited until the afternoon on Christmas Eve to put up their trees up. Nowadays however, some people deem it okay to start decorating their homes from as early as the beginning of November! Do I even need to say that this is WAY too early?
“In no way am I being a Grinch, I love Christmas, but please wait until December 1, or even a week or so later if you can. No house needs to be twinkling with fairy lights or tossed in tinsel for more than a couple of weeks a year.”
Charlotte Smith-Aldous writes: “Hands up if you hate pine needles? While I love the scent and majesty of a real tree, their droppings are a proper pain in the posterior. They get everywhere! Come Easter I’m sure I’ll encounter a whole bunch of them along the skirting board or in the airing cupboard attached to our winter sofa blankets.
“However, the worst bit is the fact the cat seems to pick up and stockpile the needles, munching on them while we’re at work, only to regurgitate them at the most inopportune moments - just as we sit down to dinner, or maybe in the middle of the night, meaning we have to get up and make sure she’s not choking to death. Will it stop us having a real tree though? Not on your Nelly.”
Christmas music in shops
While shopping is all part of getting ready for Christmas, many of us (shop staff and customers!) get fed up with festive tunes on a loop.
Daniel Studd from Ipswich picked Last Christmas by Wham as his pet hate on Facebook. This is a song that’s so omnipresent around this time that social media has spawned a “Whamageddon” challenge, where people try to go for as long as possible without hearing the song. However, even if you manage to dodge that particular number, you’ll be doing well to avoid hearing White Christmas, Winter Wonderland and Mistletoe and Wine several times each!
Another seasonal shopping gripe is being stuck behind someone who is buying an enormous pile of extra groceries. Katie Bone from Ipswich said on Twitter that she is annoyed by “people buying tons of food as if the shops are going to be closed for weeks!”
Nick Ward from Ipswich also said on Facebook that his pet Christmas hate was “Buying so much stuff even though the shops would be open a day later.”
Another Facebook user, Steve Pinder-Banthorpe, admitted: “We bought so much food last year that we were still eating ‘Christmas’ stuff well into February. So this year we’re buying our normal weekly shop with just a few extras like a Christmas pudding, a box of mince pies and a bottle of Baileys.”
The last chocolates in the tin
Judy Rimmer writes: “One of the many joys of Christmas is the chance to indulge in chocolate without worrying about teeth or waistlines (well, until the New Year, that is!)
“Huge boxes or tins of chocolates, such as Quality Street or Celebrations, are a special treat for many of us, especially if you have a houseful over the holiday period. All too often, however, you end up with a pile of the centres that nobody likes - in my house, the Creme Egg centres in a pack of Cadbury Heroes are likely to hang around until Easter, even though everyone loves all the other flavours.
“Even worse is if you have a lot of fillings in your teeth and end up getting one pulled out by a toffee or hard caramel centre - just when the dentists are closed for the duration!”
Paul Geater writes: “My pet hate as a child was being told what’s good for you at Christmas. I hate Brussels sprouts and I don’t like putting cranberry jam (sorry, sauce) on my turkey to ruin the taste. I have nothing against others enjoying these foods, just leave me out to concentrate on the other delicacies.
But growing up, I remember I was always served with a couple of sprouts: “Go on, you might like them this year.”
“No. I damn well won’t this year or any year!” I wanted to reply to the well-meaning relative putting them on my plate (before I was able to flick them into my paper napkin to dispose of at the end of the meal). I just smiled sweetly to avoid causing offence.”
Facebook user Susan Farrell said her Christmas gripe was: “Sprouts, I hate sprouts!”
Pigs in blankets
While sprouts always come in for Christmas criticism, pigs in blankets (alias sausages in bacon) are another element of the annual feast which not everyone enjoys.
Emily Cashen writes: “Pigs in blankets are undoubtedly the most overrated part of Christmas dinner. I just don’t understand the hype around these festive monstrosities, and am perplexed by their enduring popularity. The humble roast potato is clearly superior in every way – long live the spud!”
Liz Nice writes: “I love Christmas but have a particular loathing of Secret Santa.
“The first thing is – it’s never secret, is it? I remember the year I got James Marston and I bought him a Brexit loo roll (‘to clear up the mess you’ve made’). James was thrilled with it and I happen to know it still has pride of place in his loo a year on. (I declined to use it, obviously).
“But the whole point was, I wanted him to know that it was from me because we are constantly bickering about our different Brexit positions, so where was the fun if he didn’t realise it was my revenge? Another thing is that people never stick to the price limit so when you do you have to sit there all through the meal feeling guilty for your meanness, even though you were only sticking to the rules.
“And then there is when you get a gift from someone who clearly doesn’t know you at all and you end up feeling like you must have no personality of any note since none of your colleagues (even though it will only have been one) understands you in any way. I particularly remember my first year back at work after having my children and someone bought me a Thomas the Tank engine toy.
“It had a note on it ‘for your son’. As every parent knows, everything about Christmas is for your children. This is right and proper. But surely my Secret Santa could at least have been something for me? Apparently not, on this occasion. I sat there all night thinking, ‘DON’T I EXIST AS A SEPARATE PERSON AT ALL? WHAT ABOUT ME?!!’ so perhaps the gift was a comment on my innate immaturity. More likely however, I imagine it was merely bought by a man.
This is another Christmas gripe highlighted by Liz Nice, who writes: “This isn’t my rant, but a friend shared it the other day about what he called ‘stupid presents’. ‘Why do people waste their money?’ he said. ‘I’d rather they just spent it on themselves’.
“His point was that he already has everything he needs and has no requirement for a singing Christmas tree, a desk toy or, worst of all, a ‘bath basketball set’ for playing in the bath which he received from his wife’s best friend. ‘I was so cross!’ he ranted. ‘I’ll bet that woman knows far more about me than she ever should, on account of that fact that I’m sure my wife tells her things I would really rather we kept to ourselves. But surely at some point in their 30-year friendship, my wife might at least have mentioned that I never have baths!?’ Quite.”
Sales starting on Boxing Day ... or even earlier
Nicola Warren writes: “The big day isn’t even here yet, but some of the sales have started already. What good is that to me when I’ve spent out on Christmas presents? After Christmas is okay in my book though, as I will get up with the birds on Boxing Day morning - I have a toddler who won’t sleep, so I’ll be awake anyway - and stock up on clothes for her.
“But here I have another moan to air - the queues. Just as I’m congratulating myself on the bargains I’ve found, I spot the queue, snaking round the shop, filled with shoppers holding overflowing baskets and my heart sinks. But I know I won’t give in and put everything back, I can’t say no to a bargain, and, hey, it won’t even be 7am yet.”
New Christmas traditions
Facebook user Gita Gb is irritated by Christmas elves, commenting on Facebook: “Elves, and statuses about them, are filling my timeline at the moment!”
Nick Richards writes: “I’ve got a major dislike for all these modern Christmas factors that just weren’t around even a decade ago. Most of them have trickled over from across the pond.
“This includes the Coca-Cola truck with that rubbish advert featuring everyone getting excited that a glorified lorry is coming to their town to deliver teeth-rotting fizzy drink, and the phrase ‘sleep until Christmas’ being uttered on a daily basis from mind-November. Can’t people just say ‘days’ anymore?
“And now we have the Christmas Eve box which you’re supposed to fill with pyjamas you wear for one night a year, a favourite festive DVD and other December 24-related treats. What happened to a simple Advent calendar?”
But some of us love every minute!
Some people just don’t have any festive gripes, loving every last moment, from the awakening at 5am to admire a child’s stocking presents through to falling asleep while watching TV with your last glass of egg nog and mince pie.
Kimberley Thorpe summed it all up for many on Facebook, saying: “I hate that it only lasts a day!”