I HATE Christmas.

Only part of this is because I am Jewish.  I'm not wildly Jewish, after all, and not so Jewish that if I loved Christmas I would feel guilty about it. I love ham, for instance, and don't feel guilty about that.  Except that I admire pigs. So -- guilty, yes. But not because the old testament tells me to be.


My dislike of Christmas is not religious so much as practical. I don't mind giving gifts, but I really don't like giving them in bulk ('Christ! We forgot Cousin Pelican!') and I detest having to spend months crossing names off lists, trying to think what size the nephews are now, what music they might be into, and are the godchildren too old for mittens?

I could happily live without receiving as well, unless it means a pashmina in the exact colour of fluffy pale celadon that I covet. And it never does.

My daughter recently found a book inscribed "To Meggie, Merry Christmas 1964".  It was from my parents.  "Did you LIKE it?" she asked, appalled, unable to imagine a historical era in which Christmas did not consist of a new i-pod, Jack Wills sweatshirt, TopShop vouchers and many, many etceteras.

A book? Um, like, I don't think so?

My husband gets more into the spirit than I do.  When our child was four, she awoke on Christmas morning to beautifully rendered charcoal reindeer hoofprints all over the room.  OK, she was delighted. But also fairly gutted when the time came, a few years later, to explain not only that Santa did not exist, but that daddy was an elaborate fraudster.

In case I've never mentioned it before, my ideal holiday does not involve a bunch of temporarily civil family members teetering on the brink of airing life-long grievances as they slug heated alcohol out of pint glasses.

SO.  If you and your loved ones can barely wait to break out the gluhwein and wail tidings of comfort and joy around the glockenspiel, you have my blessings.

Me?  I'll be the one cowering in the snow by the back door, counting off the hours to January.