Christmas vs. New Year

At work, we are given a choice between working on Boxing Day or working on the 2 January. I have always opted to take 2 January off, even though I tend not to drink much on Hogmanay — certainly not enough for me still to be hungover two days later. Sure enough, this year I have no plans to see in the new year with a bang.

(Even if I did, I probably wouldn’t be able to attend, as I’ve been hit by some winter disease that has taken it right out of me. Yesterday I was sent home from work, and when I got home I went straight to bed and accidentally fell asleep. This was at around 16:30. I stayed asleep more or less right through until 08:30 this morning. I feel better today, but still in no form to celebrate properly.)

Nonetheless, it feels right to work on Boxing Day rather than 2 January, even though I couldn’t articulate a reason why. I don’t know if this is some kind of subconscious Scottish patriotism, the day being recognised as a holiday in few other countries. Maybe it’s just because it’s later, and I want to save it up to enjoy (time discounting wouldn’t be much of a factor, as I filled in the form months ago). Or maybe it just indicates a preference for New Year as a holiday over Christmas.

It has to be said, Hogmanay is pretty naff. To be frank, we could do without the twee BBC Scotland fiddle-me-dee extravaganza. Only an Excuse? ceased to be funny about a decade ago, and lost all relevance to me as I lost interest in football. The other side is not much better, as if the BBC thought that making us suffer most Fridays of the year with Jools Holland on the box wasn’t enough.

But there is still something special about Hogmanay. I think it stems from my memories of it as a child. It was more or less the only day of the year when I was allowed to stay up late. For a nightowl like me, it was amazing. And sometimes I even got an extra special tipple with which to see in the new year: Irn Bru.

Mind you, it’s not as if childhood memories of Christmas are exactly dire. But I think it is easier to fall out of love with Christmas as you become an adult. Gleefully receiving presents makes way for having to give presents. Your eyes are opened to the stress everyone puts themselves under. People get hung up on creating the perfect Christmas, which I would have said rather ruins the mood, which is supposed to be cheerful.

Some people are forced to spend Christmas with family members that they don’t like, and possibly don’t even see for the rest of the year. For some, Christmas Day is a day of dreary, dreaded routine.

Perhaps most importantly, Christmas brings with it a whole suite of naffness. Tacky tinsel, Christmas cards with garish depictions of Santa Claus, and a list of terrible Christmas songs as long as your arm.

Despite the twee TV, our attitude towards New Year is much simpler. You go out with your pals, get blootered and take two days to recover. And perhaps most importantly, there are no bad Paul McCartney songs about New Year. Awesome.

So happy new year everyone! Thanks for sticking with the blog through the dry patches. I might make it my new year’s resolution to update more often. Then again, that was my resolution last year as well…