First off, the stressed people. Even a fair number of the shoppers in town are looking grim and harried, or at least flustered. The roads are full with drivers squinting into the gloom through their smeared windscreens and swearing at the jams. The postie and the couriers look like they haven’t slept in weeks.
Second, Christmas makes demands of you. On top of all the normal ones, which just get trickier. I have trouble coping with normal life, let alone feeling like I should be doing decorations, cards, presents, and interacting with a lot of relationships at once. Back when I had to arrange work leave, cat cover and endure travel on Hell-trains, it was even worse.
Third, so many of the seasonal stories, music and so forth have an imperative: You Must Be Jolly And Conform. Some of them go so far as to hint at the personal shortcomings of people who don’t, or hint at what will happen to them as a result. Of which the worst prospect is inevitable conversion.
So I am taking inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe’s Masque of the Red Death: fill up the castle storerooms, seal the gates, and wait for it to be over. I am, at least at the moment, not bothered in the slightest by the prospect of the day being without human company. I’ll welcome the peace. That may change, but I’m not whingeing about it yet.
I used to like Christmas, and perhaps one day I will again. But not this year.