Rescuing Christmas

Written by Matt O'Callaghan // @mangiamangiauk // @mattyoc2 // mangiamangiauk.com

Illustrated by Rhia Cook // @rhiacookmakes


I have had the misfortune all my life to have been surrounded by Scrooges. Exuding that thing that people that hate Christmas exude. December chloroform, the moment you open the first door of the advent calendar.


My dad, long dead, would dig the garden rather than watch us open our presents; my mother has been known to park the car behind the village hall and turn the house lights off, just in case people realise she’s home and ask her round for a mince pie; an ex would unfailingly choose to work; a friend celebrates by dieting through December. Someone (me) should just have said, ‘Stop it! Stop it now! It’s Christmas”.


Perhaps; no: because of, these curmudgeons, I embrace Christmas, and winter, and the build-up, the darkening, the closure. I left a home that wasn’t a home at 18 and set about creating my own version of adulthood. I have learned to celebrate it in spite of those that would turn on the overhead lights, have pizza on the 25th and bang on about grasping businesses destroying the ‘true meaning’. I stock up on firewood, break out the frankincense, put my Christmas tree centre stage, in the front window - lights on, curtains flung open.