Warning: this post is so full of burning hatred and fury that it could spontaneously combust at any moment.

Internet, I am angry. Very, very angry.

Why? This advert.

What the fuckety-fuck is this? I get more irate about this every time I see or hear it. And it seems to be bliddy everywhere at the moment (as you know, I recently started a new job and my office-mate has the radio on all day (ADHD post on this very topic is currently under construction (in fact it was going to be today’s post until Littlewoods’ gangrenous little advert took over my brain and irritation started pumping round my body where my blood should be)))* so I have heard this advert in its radio form at ten minute intervals for two consecutive days. And because I’m new to that office and want to make a good impression I can neither ask her to turn it off or sit there with blu-tac in my ears in an attempt to block out the noise. Honestly though, I would rather listen to foxes fuck all night than sit through another 41 seconds of this shit.

I mean, surely you can see why I find it so odious? Well, let me count the ways (in reverse order of their offensiveness):

  • Obviously, it’s far too early for Christmas adverts etc etc etc blah blah blah. Even I’m bored about people complaining about this every year so I’m just going to mention it for the sake of comprehensive analysis of the situation and then leave it there.
  • The tune is annoying and therefore sticks in your head and you’re on the tube and it’s in your head, and you’re having a bath and it’s in your head, and you’re waiting at the bar and it’s still there —‘my lovely, lovely mother’ — in your head and GAH!!
  • The children are extremely annoying. It’s not their fault. Probably. But, nevertheless, whether they’re just acting or really are that annoying, their ‘cuteness’ annoys me. I have no time for cutsey kids. Ick.
  • It reinforces gender stereotypes in a multitude of ways, from the gender-specific presents and costumes, to the clear assumption that only mothers bother buying presents. Fuck off, Littlewoods.

Now that leaves us with a whole bundle of reasons that it’s annoying, all of which would probably fit nice and snugly under a generalised heading such as: Objection to the Commercialisation of Christmas. But it’s not even just that. It’s a more complex repulsion than that, and if it were only that then it would be just as predictable an objection as point number one and I probably wouldn’t mention this either.¬† Christmas is commercial, it just is. I’m not saying it should be but it just is. And we’re used to it. We’re used to the adverts selling us products by carefully gift-wrapping them in sentimentality and festive nostalgia.

BUT, and I think this is what really gets me about this. There’s no pretence! None! Littlewoods do not even have enough shame to PRETEND that they’re not trying to boost sales in the midst of financial crisis by preying on the Christmas spirit of families who are already financing their whole lives on credit and probably ‘spreading the cost, interest free’ for everything wherever possible; buy now, pay later for life, not just for Christmas. This lack of shame is evidenced by the way they break the golden rule of Christmas advertising (where children are featured, all gifts usually come from Santa. (You could argue that at least Littlewoods are finally giving parents the credit for those Xboxes and Fidgets (what the fuck is a fidget anyway?) rather than Santa being falsely attributed¬† for his generosity every year but I am not feeling kindly towards Littlewoods right now so no, I will not grant them any defence at all.)¬† Littlewoods are just cutting Santa out of the equation completely).** You see, Littlewoods have no need for Santa. Santa is for adverts that don’t have a very clear message. And the message for all the mums out there is this: YOUR CHILDREN WILL LOVE YOU MORE IF YOU BUY THEM EXPENSIVE PRESENTS. YOU CAN AND SHOULD BUY THEIR LOVE. IF YOU DON’T BUY AN XBOX FOR YOUR FIVE YEAR OLD, THEN YOU ARE A SHIT MOTHER AND YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE ANY TACKY LITTLEWOODS JEWELLERY IN PENANCE FOR YOUR SHITNESS. AND CHILDREN? IF YOU CELEBRATE AND MIMIC YOUR MOTHER’S MATERIALISTIC ATTITUDE SHE WILL LOOK UPON YOU WITH PRIDE. gaahhhhh!

Apart from anything else, I feel angered beyond belief that Littlewoods think the general public is so stupid that they will find this acceptable. NO. Glancing at the comments left under the YouTube video, I am pleased to see that apart from a few ‘Awww, how cute’ morons, most people share my view that this is an odious, offensive shitfest of fuckwittery.

But what am I going to do about it, apart from pour out my scorn and repulsion to you, dear Internet? Well, if this is Christmas then I want no part of it. I would just boycott Littlewoods but, honestly, who shops there anyway? Nope, my anger at this advert goes way beyond Littlewank.com. I am boycotting Christmas full stop unless a) my anger abates significantly (which will only happen if I can successfully eradicate any possibility of accidentally being subjected to this advert in the next seven weeks) or b) ….nope, can’t think of another way out. That’s it then. I am going to have to raid the stationary cupboard for a shed-load of blu-tac.

I am going to leave the final word to the bloody wonderful Tom Lehrer who, even after over fifty years, still captures the ‘true spirit’ of Christmas in a delightfully amusing song which I would like to propose as an antidote to anybody who, like me, is suffering from injuries inflicted by Littlewoods this year…

* I just had to close three sets of brackets there, Internet. Three! I really need to work on my brackets compulsion. Nobody should have this many parenthetical remarks. In fact, if remarks are so tangential that they warrant being embedded three brackets deep then they probably need culling at the draft stage.

** That there, Internet, was another three sets of brackets? What is wrong with me? It’s like the part of my brain responsible for punctuation is on speed.

And so this was Christmas…

December 31, 2009

Despite the lack of Christmas cheer I was experiencing at the time of my last post, I had a lovely christmas. I hope you all did too, and that those of you going through difficult times found some comfort from the people around you. That’s kind of what this post is about. A bit of a reflection about the people I spent Christmas with. I missed J lots, of course. He went to his dad’s over Christmas (next year we are hoping to spend christmas in the same part of the country although our flat is too small to entertain in and blah blah blah).

Anyway, I went home to the small Yorkshire village I grew up in, and although there are always a few ghosts of your sixteen year old self to contend with when you go home for christmas, I find that these days I can sit round the table with those ghosts in companiable silence. I no longer feel an uncomfortable ache of nostalgia for the person I used to be then. Well. Mostly.

And how can you fail to feel Christmassy driving home for Christmas in this?

Up North

Or waking up in your childhood bedroom on Christmas eve and looking out of the window at the snow.

The village hasn’t changed much. It still has one shop, two pubs, a chip van and, bizarrely, a football ground.

This is where I grew up. It’s beautiful -I just never realised that when I lived there.

I took this picture of the Emley Moor Television Mast on a boxing day walk with my mum. As always, Christmas was Christmas, in the end because I was with my family. Without wanting to sound too sentimental, (actually, fuck it- I don’t care if it sounds sentimental) this is what I liked best about my christmas -playing a family quiz with my parents and my brother; sitting in front of a coal fire with my mum, cats on our knees; my dad helping me take cuttings from some of his houseplants or making soup whilst listening to gardeners’ question time, festive edition.

Speaking of my parents, I snapped these sneaky shots to illustrate where the ADHD in our family comes from. The only real source of mutual chagrin for mum and dad is my dad’s ADHD tendencies – his mess, his compulsive bargain hunting, and his refusal to throw anything out. Ever. Most of the house is really very nice but my mum has to fight to keep it that way, constantly picking up old nails, random batteries, charity shop “finds,” not to mention the debris from hundreds of his “little projects” as she calls them. So the house becomes a battleground upon which my mum desperately tries to impose order onto chaos:

Mum's Order

Dad's Chaos (although he would probably argue that he is making omelets which requires a certain amount of eggs be broken)

You can see how the ADHD diagnosis made a lot of sense for us all. I love how different they are to each other, how they tease each other, how they understand each other and me, even when they pretend not to. I love my dad’s eccentricities, my mum’s tolerance and generosity. I owe my parents everything. I strive to be somebody they’ll be proud of even though I know that their pride and love is unconditional. They have taught me what family can be, what love should be, and I no matter how old I get, I will always grow towards them like plants grow towards the sun.

c.1984

I love you, mum and dad- thank you for another beautiful christmas x x x