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Reeling us in with festive offerings

Reeling us in with festive offerings

As I write this, it’s discreet, almost subliminal. By the time you read this, it will be inescapable, irrefutable. We are being Christmassed! There I am on a hot, sunny Saturday, standing in the supermarket perusing the cake aisle, as one does when one is feeling jaunty, and my eyes drift over the apple pies,

As I write this, it’s discreet, almost subliminal. By the time you read this, it will be inescapable, irrefutable. We are being Christmassed!
There I am on a hot, sunny Saturday, standing in the supermarket perusing the cake aisle, as one does when one is feeling jaunty, and my eyes drift over the apple pies, Battenberg, lemon slices, jam tarts, chocolate rolls, mince pies, fondant fancies… wait a minute. What devilish work is that? Surely not… but surely so?
There they are, tucked slyly among the year-round sweetmeats: mince ruddy pies! Right in front of me; me in my summer dress and flip flops, faced with the prospect of Christmas. So incensed was I that I abandoned the aisle and angrily bought a yoghurt.
These sneaky festive offerings are currently mere flashes before our eyes. Shops are edging Christmas into our consciousness in the hope that these images infiltrate our thoughts and dreams (I’m flying over a mountain range with a unicorn, now I’m on a yacht on a purple sea with the Milky Way above, oh look there’s George Clooney on a rock eating a Yule log).
The next three months are scrunched up, disregarded as unimportant before they’ve even happened, because the only thing the powers that be want us to think of is one single day in December; our lives have no meaning until the 25th, by which time, they hope and trust we shall have spent billions of our hard-earned pounds in their shops, dumbly grabbing festive fodder from the shelves and to hell with the fact we’ve still got 100 days where we will need to eat things other than Christmas pudding and Quality Street.
But there’s the thing. They don’t want us to eat anything else between now and then; they want us to gorge ourselves on mincemeat and goose fat so we have to come back for more.
You know what? I love mince pies. I absolutely love them, but it is a truth universally acknowledged (apart from in supermarket accounts departments) that anyone who consumes a mince pie before December 1 should behave better, and I want no part of it.
Here we are, fresh out of summer, morosely shoving light things under the bed, breathing in the damp, oaky stillness of autumn. And there they are, sly daily images reminding us we’re sliding towards the all-consuming inevitability of another Christmas, another year gone, another heap of ambitions not achieved, a year closer to old age, a year closer to a slow and painful death.
Now, see, I’ve depressed myself. I think I’ll go and buy some mince pies to cheer myself up.

Becky Mayhew
Becky Mayhew
COLUMNIST
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