Why I'm gutted I can't be in London for Christmas, by a Londoner

By Nathan Muir, who moved to London in 2018

TRAGICALLY, I’m not in London for Christmas. Disappointing, but I’m duty-bound to visit my parents in their dreary village where there aren’t vibrant, characterful neighbours screaming at 2am.

There’s nothing like Christmas in London. The lights on Oxford Street, the buzz in the bars, the festive events at cultural hubs like the South Bank. Affording them’s an issue because my rent’s £1,550pcm, but they just don’t have that stuff in the backward provinces.

Here in my parents’ isolated hamlet Worcestershire of barely 30,000 people there’s literally nothing. Shops, bars, pubs, a Waitrose, restaurants, a Christmas market, leisure centre, that’s it. Welcome to the post-apocalyptic wasteland.

What I love about London is the energy, and by energy I mean ‘constant noise’. Whether the truck delivering to the fried chicken place at 5am, the neighbours above rowing or the guy who plays R&B even when he’s out, it’s all part of the capital’s rich tapestry.

And of course there’s the diversity. You’ll find every nationality in London. I’m not technically friends with any, but I love knowing they’re there. The Afro-Caribbean community makes it so much more edgy.

But instead I’m stuck in the closed-minded, bigoted provinces. Speak to any of my parents’ elderly neighbours and not one of them went to Pride. Behind the net curtains you know they can’t wait to get out the Nazi uniforms.

So that’s my Christmas. A miserable week eating chocolates and raiding my parents’ well-stocked fridge. It’s just so bloody predictable. ET just isn’t the same when it’s not Secret Cinema.

Does it have to be turkey with crispy roasties, pigs in blankets, real gravy and fluffy homemade Yorkshire puds every year? Would it kill Mum to do a Thai omelette or some tamales for a change?

But I forced it down. The last thing I want is to look ungrateful.

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Couple rush to sales to see how much they overpaid for each other's presents

A COUPLE are spending the day at the sales to see how much they overpaid for the gifts they received two days ago. 

Charlotte Phelps and Jack Brown cannot wait to find out how capitalism, and its rigid insistence that all spending be confined to a specific pre-determined period, has f**ked them right over this year.

Charlotte said: “I got Jack a parka from TK Maxx that I thought was a real find for £120, and there are racks of them for £35! Wow! They’re really flooding the market!

“The aftershave I bought him is only £8 cheaper, nothing really, but my perfume’s a full £23 cheaper because he went for the fancy gift set with the body lotion I’ll never use.

“Best of all, the smart TV we bought each other? Down from £529 to £379! Wow, we really lost some cash on that one. It’s not even out of the box yet but we can’t return it because it was on sale.”

Jack said: “We rushed out first thing this morning to discover how badly a festival which advertises itself as being all about family and togetherness and sharing had gouged us all, and we weren’t disappointed.

“Really we should get all our presents for next year in these amazing sales! But we can’t, because we’re not twats.”