Dom Joly: The Christmas party pooper

Comedian and Cotswold Life columnist Dom Joly

Comedian and Cotswold Life columnist Dom Joly - Credit: © Thousand Word Media

Christmas started to go wrong for Dom Joly back in 1972 in Beirut...

Oh God, Christmas approacheth…

I’m sorry to sound all bah humbug but I’m not really a Christmas person. I think I just have a deep-seated fear of anything that purports to tell me when I should be happy and having a good time. I just feel under pressure. If there is a more pre-planned, much anticipated, over-hyped event then, thank the lord I am yet to come across it.

To be fair, I’m the same with New Year’s Eve. I’m just a total party pooper. I’m at my best with spontaneous, unplanned events that allow me to go with the flow.

This does not help me with Christmas, however, and, just in case you haven’t noticed – IT’S COMING!!!

Christmas started to go wrong for me back in 1972 in Beirut. I can remember being forced to wear a suit and tie before heading off to our annual family church visit. I screamed and screamed until I was sick, and I’ve pretty much behaved like that every time I’ve seen a suit since. All I wanted, all anyone wants, is to get to the presents. First we had to get up, have breakfast, get dressed up, go to church, visit relatives, have a long lunch with the bloody relatives and then, finally, get at the presents only to find that my main one was the Bumper Book of Birdwatching.

Obviously there were the little hors d’oeuvres presents when you woke up, stuffed into a stocking, but I even ruined that for myself. I was always very suspicious of the existence of Father Christmas and had set up quite an elaborate booby trap that involved a tripwire and loads of bells. When I awoke to find my father spreadeagled on the floor, swearing while attempting to hide the stocking, I knew that the world was one big lie. I didn’t really get stockings after that.

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Then I went and married a Canadian – Canadians LOVE Christmas. Canadians think that those weird Christmas shops that are open all year round are really cool. Canadians get into home baking, amazing home decorating, Christmas music on all the time all the way through November and December…

Canadians do not like me being round in the long month leading up to Christmas. In fact, Canadians would almost prefer I wasn’t around at all as my “attitude” is apparently a “downer” for everyone else…

I do try my best. I go out and spend a fortune on stupid things nobody needs, like chocolate that makes the Canadian hungry, then guilty, then angry. I try to buy ‘fun’ things, like amusing books and little pointless gadgets that nobody really wants. I even splash out on really expensive crackers because I hate cracker jokes and the stupid paper hats you’re always forced to wear by dull people.

I assume that if I get expensive crackers then everything will be better. It never is. Expensive crackers just give you fake silver paper hats and the jokes are even worse. What I really want from an expensive cracker are the keys to a Jaguar sitting outside that will take me straight to Heathrow and my first class, one-way flight to Bali.

And the bloody presents. I can’t just buy them. I have to wrap all these things up. I can’t wrap anything. I try to get shops to gift-wrap them for me but the Canadian says that this lacks the personal touch and insists that I do it myself. This means that all her presents appear under the tree looking like they have been wrapped up in a mental institution before being flushed down the loo. I am then told off for the appearance of the presents, and I hit the champagne early.

But all of this is to come. For now I have to think about who to invite for Christmas and whether we should have it at home or go out somewhere else for it. Every year I try to organise Christmas (big mistake) so that it is cheap and cheerful with minimum hassle. Every year I go bankrupt, and spend five days getting the house back into a normal state.

To cap it all, I didn’t even get asked to turn on the Cheltenham Christmas lights. I did the Cirencester ones once. A couple of rude people in the crowd kept shouting out that they wanted the Little Britain people, not me.

I think it’s time for me to join a monastery for a couple of months.

Bah Bloody Humbug.