The Christmas party has started too early, don’t you think?

The Christmas lights go up too early, don't they, says Sharon Griffiths Picture Ella Wilkinson.

The Christmas lights go up too early, don't they, says Sharon Griffiths Picture Ella Wilkinson. - Credit: Archant

Sharon Griffiths says it won't be long before we're celebrating Christmas on August Bank Holiday

Sometimes I feel as though I'm in another time zone…

…or does anyone else feel that Christmas has shifted a whole month forwards, starting and finishing much earlier than it used to?

Of course it started early in the shops. It always has. That's their job. And it was always our job to moan about it – until now.

Because suddenly the rest of us are just as keen to get going on the festivities.

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The first Christmas trees appeared in people's front windows in November. November! – when there were still rotting pumpkins on doorsteps and the smell of gunpowder in the air.

On December 1st they crowded in by the forest load. Neighbours' houses are already decked in lights. People who used to wait until around the 18th have been out for a week or more already, fighting with ladders and strings of lights and snowmen and flashing stars and twinkly icicles.

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So now we've got to get our lights up too otherwise we'll feel really Grinch-like.

There's even been sightings of Christmas jumpers, definitely best left for one day only, and the elf on the shelf is causing chaos in many a home.

Prosecco is flowing like a festive sparkly river complete with mince pies and Stollen. Christmas has begun.

Advent, once a time of anticipation, is now for knocking back chocolates, gin, wine and whisky from adult advent calendars. The party starts on December 1st.

No wonder it ends early. After such a build up, the day itself can't help but be an anti-climax. Some people can't wait for it to be over. Many a balding Christmas tree will be dumped in the bin by Boxing Day and the fallen needles and tinsel brushed out of sight before the year ends, with a sigh of 'I'm glad that's over for another year.'

There used to be Twelve Days of Christmas – starting on Christmas Day and ending on January 6th. Now there are twenty six – starting on December 1st and finishing on Boxing day.

As for the poor old Wise Men still making their way towards Epiphany - by January 6th we won't even notice them as we'll be busy stocking up on Easter eggs.

Whether you view Christmas as one of the most important times in the Christian calendar, or just a variation of a Mid Winter Cheer Up Fest, starting it sooner and dragging out longer is bound to make it less special.

Meanwhile, it's sometimes not to feel out of step with the world.

In my home county of Pembrokeshire there is a magical narrow valley, Cwm Gwaun, where they've been out of step with the world for over 250 years. When the calendar changed from Julian to Gregorian back in 1752, the valley never moved with the times. So they still celebrate New Year's Day on the old date – January 13th. When everyone else is battling with sales/diets/new year resolutions, they're down the pub, having a party.

In years to come, those who celebrate Christmas on December 25th will be similarly isolated behind the times.

At this rate, the rest of the world will have had it all done and dusted somewhere around August Bank Holiday.


Oh don't be so miserable about those Christmas letters

Ever since computers made the so-called round robin easy to wrote and send, they've been much mocked and lampooned. Shame.

I love a Christmas letter. If people are friends you want to hear about them and even if you don't, it's like another episode in an annual soap opera of their apparently stunningly successful lives.

Christmas letters, like those cards you get from people you haven't seen for years are at least an attempt to keep in touch. A sort of I-know-it's-been-a-long-time-and-we're-all very-busy-but-I've-been-thinking-of-you-and-one-day….

When a plague of loneliness threatens to engulf us all, at least someone making the effort. So instead of mocking the letter-writer, why not call and actually speak to them?

You might, of course, find out that there's a reason you haven't seen them for years. But you might actually re-kindle a friendship.

Must be worth a try.


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