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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Melanie McDonagh

Bad tidings to those who celebrate Christmas too early

(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

(Picture: PA Archive)

If you are one of those posting pictures of your wretched Christmas tree, covered in bling, stop it now. Christmas hasn’t arrived. It hasn’t even started. What started yesterday is Advent, the season for getting in the right sort of mindset, for making pudding, for sending cards and getting quietly excited rather than actually celebratory.

Yet there were celebs posting their wretched trees on November 3. ITV’s Good Morning Britain presented theirs even earlier. Two weeks ago, King’s Road came to a standstill for Christmas carols — Good King Wenceslas, the works — with two girls on stilts marshalling the kiddies to see Santa. It’s hardly a surprise, come Boxing Day, if the little ‘uns are over the whole thing.

The late Queen spent Christmas at Windsor Castle, pictured, two years in a row during the Covid pandemic (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)

There are all sorts of ways to steal Christmas, and premature celebration is the worst of the lot.

I’m a Grinch in reverse; I take one look at Christmas lights in early November — mid-November, latest — and want to take them down and put them up a month later.

Whatever your religious persuasion, or want of it, can we take on board that the whole thing is premised on the arrival of baby Jesus on December 25, which the Christian church decided on in the fourth century? Those Advent calendars which are now full of pork scratchings or premium skincare and fragrance (the Christian Dior number retails at £470) are now about the only reminder that this was once a preparatory season, with the little windows finally culminating in the final reveal of a crib on Christmas Day.

Over 3.6 million buckets of fried chicken are consumed in Japan each Christmas which has prompted YO! to switch up its offering. (YO!/PinPep)

The trouble with celebrating the season too soon and too much is that when it finally starts, on Christmas Eve, it’s practically over. We’re jaded with bloody sausage rolls, we’re over mulled wine and we never want to see another mince pie. What we should actually be doing is partying for 12 whole days, right through to Epiphany on January 6. In fact, the whole of January is part of what you might call Long Christmas, which should go on until February 2, a season for eating and drinking with friends. Instead we start mad diets on New Year’s Day, the worst time of year for giving up carbs and drink.

So... let’s hold on the whole premature Christmas thing. Let’s look forward to it, not celebrate way too early. You can post your fairy-lit designer tree on Christmas Eve, folks. Not now.

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