Christmas is expensive. For many, our household spend increases by a startling amount in the time surrounding the big day and, between the perfect gift, nights out and the Christmas feast, this is hardly surprising.
And yet, there are very few of us who would deny that, every year, we encounter a shocking amount of absurdly cheap, incredibly disappointing tat. From cheap fair stalls to token presents, gordy decorations to food gimmicks, we are all taken in, one way or another, by an inundation of penny-crap; so much so, that cheap rubbish has become a joke, as traditional a part of Christmas as the turkey itself. The ways in which people feel about this differ really quite strongly.
On one end of the spectrum, is the fully-fledged, self-professed Scrooges, despising the tat and, therefore, loathing the entirety of Christmas itself. On the other end of the poles is those who revel in the great tat fall more than they do Christmas: their houses are like Poundland grottos, their lives just one great barrage of cheap fairs and dreadful excuses for grottos. They are the very antithesis of a romantic Christmas.
Somewhere in between the two extremes are the rest of us: the normal folk, as it were. I have no desire to consume candy canes (what even are they?), plaster my room in Christmas stickers or even entertain the notion of a Christmas disco but that doesn't mean that I don't appreciate a bit of crap.
Today is the school Christmas fair and guaranteed, I will walk away at least something of little use or value. And that, I think, is the clincher. I think that, sometimes, the things that are least valuable can become the most valuable to us. There is something quite freeing about buying or doing things for absolutely no reason, simply because something bigger than us somehow justifies it.
And so, just once a year, I am willing to embrace the tat, if not for any real reason, then for Christmas.