Christmas now starts so early that I’ve heard Hogmanay will be on 30 November next year – Kevan Christie

Santa Claus arrives from Lapland to help switch on the Christmas lights on Falkirk High Street on 17 November 2019 (Picture: Michael Gillen)
Santa Claus arrives from Lapland to help switch on the Christmas lights on Falkirk High Street on 17 November 2019 (Picture: Michael Gillen)
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Forget the 12 days of Christmas, it’s more like three months as Edinburgh turns into Blackpool without the donkeys. Why? It’s “all about the Benjamins”, explains Kevan Christie.

It’s Christmas! Except it’s not, dear reader, it’s only the 23rd of bloody November and the time has come for me to expose this conspiracy of idiocy hellbent on prolonging our Yuletide misery.

I have been left with no option but to bring the eagerly awaited Christmas Special Column forward by four weeks, to cope with festive demand from the punters.

The Christmas party invites from a well-known garden centre and the cooncil haven’t appeared in my in-tray yet but already the ghost of late-November past lingers.

Edinburgh ‘where the Big Lights glisten and children listen to hear sleigh bells in the fake snow’ officially opened it’s Christmas Market last Saturday – that’ll be the 16th of November then.

What happened to the 12 days of Christmas starting on 25 December running until the 5 January? Or that rule where you wait until 12 days before to put your tree up.

Any sensible European city puts the Christmas market in the street, not in the beautiful gardens, but this is modern Scotland where common sense is a foreign concept.

Surely the festive period starts when the first chocolate pops out the advent calendar box on 1 December?

Not anymore, by my reckoning the Carnival of Nonsense commences before the last Guy has been flung onto the bonfire.

READ MORE: Edinburgh’s Christmas 2019: all the festive family activities and events taking place in Edinburgh this Christmas

READ MORE: Edinburgh World Heritage demands scaling back of Christmas market in Princes Street Gardens

They’ll be trying to bring religion into it at this rate... Jesus wept. The game’s a bogey – it’s gone Underbelly up, in Edinburgh at least.

Although it’s not all bad news – word has reached me that lycra-clad adventurer Mark ‘get a real job’ Beaumont will be turning on the Crimbo lights at 7pm tonight in the High Street in Kinross.

Tickets are yours for three grand a pop on the black market, such is demand to glimpse the athlete, broadcaster and author in the flesh.

Cruel hoax on Cupar

This reminds me of the cruel hoax played on a Fife town back in 2010 when the excitement hit fever pitch after news spread that the one and only Chesney Hawkes was being “proudly presented” by Cupar Round Table to perform the illumination honours.

Folk lined up to throw their underpants at the one-hit wonder, only for it to emerge later the Cuparians had fallen victim to ‘fake news’ with hints of Russian collusion.

A phoney poster campaign followed in subsequent years as the good townsfolk suffered at the hands of ‘Prank’ Bruno, followed by ‘Trick’ Astley and Jean Claude ‘van Scam’ among others as reported in the Fife Herald.

A young Cupar mum was quoted as saying – “The joke’s wearing a bit thin now,”... bless.

This rush to bring Christmas forward by a month is bad news for Giant Marshmallow Boris Johnson who could be looking for a new job after 12 December. Ho-ho-ho!

No doubt department store Jenners, now the first port of call for all things Lonsdale, will have filled their Santa vacancy – a plum role Boris was born to play.

Still, they’ve probably started taking applications for next year, although his CV may need a fact check. “It says here you were Major of Lapland?”

Richard Leonard (who?) – the leader of the Scottish Labour Party – on the other hand is urging us all to ‘vote for hope this Christmas’ as a thousand voters make ready to hand back their new puppies.

Nothing says festive like a mafia hit

However, I’m no Grinch and have a romanticised vision of Christmas in my head even though I choose to work it every year for fear of relatives and assorted other visitors. Pass the hair shirt.

Classic films like The Wizard of Oz and It’s a Wonderful Life are central to the experience with the Human League’s Don’t You Want Me, the Christmas number one from 1981, playing on a loop in my head.

Obviously copious amounts of scran play a central role throughout the month of December and I always make sure I’m never out of touching distance from the Cadbury Celebrations, while hooked to an After Eight drip.

I used to love a bit of 007 after the Queen’s Speech with Roger Moore, the best Bond in the title role by a mile, putting the Celtic, Rangers, Hibs, Hearts and Dunfermline-supporting former granny’s milkman to shame.

The Spy Who Loved Me is a classic but the ultimate festive movie scene sure to warm the cockles of the hardest heart is in The Godfather. The bit where Michael finds out that Don Corleone has been shot by a rival gangster while he’s been out Christmas shopping with his new girlfriend Kay is the starting pistol to the season’s greet-ins. There’s nothing like the attempted assasination of a mafia kingpin to get the old Christmas juices flowing. Anyway, I digress and there’s work to be done here folks.

So, what’s behind this modern trend to bring Christmas forward by at least a month, while giving it the label Winter Festival or some other glib title in the hope people are too dumb to notice?

Dosh of course – oceans of filthy lucre, hard cash and ‘it’s all about the Benjamins’ as my close friend Puff Daddy once sang.

Edinburgh is mad for the stuff – boring old heritage has taken a back seat as the city transforms itself into Blackpool (but not on ice) and all that’s missing are the donkeys.

The festival tentacles have spread to the Old Town with 12,000 of the sausage-munching masses descending on the High Street and the Lawnmarket to get a ‘deek at the fireworks’ and various other controlled explosions.

Once that’s done we’ll have Edinburgh’s Hogmanay billed as The World’s Best Street Party, where 100,000 Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans gather in Princes Street to drink Buckfast and battle hypothermia.

Sounds like a whole bunch of fun but enjoy it while it lasts because Hogmanay’s on 30 November next year...