Oooh! What a fuss the Asda Christmas advert seemed to be causing. If you haven’t seen it, it suggests that mums do Christmas and for the rest of the family Christmas appears as if by magic. No s**t Sherlock!
But of course there have been lots of gainsayers. There are those families where the man does the cooking, others who share the present buying on a romantic, festive date. And of course in many households both partners work long hours and the only way that Christmas can happen is by delegation and team work. I even heard someone say that Christmas can be a shabby affair if you don’t have the time or inclination to do the whole Victorian thing. Of course it can!
However, the point that ‘Outraged of London’ has missed when they slam Asda’s advert as insulting to women or men or anyone who happens to watch is that in many, many households across the land Asda has got it spot on. Mum does do Christmas.
In the Clark household I think they would accept that I do it all. There are two reasons for this. Firstly and most importantly I don’t have a job. ( Please don’t start with all that my job is in the home business! You know what I mean.) My husband works long hours to provide the wherewithal for us to have a lovely Christmas with all the trimmings and my part of the bargain is to make that happen. It’s a simple division of labour that happens all year long but is just heightened at Christmas when there is more to be done. We have chosen this very traditional model of family life, it plays well to our strengths and it works for us.
The second reason why I do Christmas is because I’m a control freak. I want Christmas to be done properly and the proper way is my way so I might as well do it all myself! Even when we both worked I did Christmas. It’s just the way it is. No one makes me do it. I like it (although I accept that that might not always be immediately apparent and I reserve the right to moan a bit and stamp my feet from time to time.)
This is where I part company with those that are insulted by the advert. I could delegate and make my life easier but I don’t want to. I choose to do it all and turn myself into some sort of whirling dervish for a month. I do it because I want my children to have the kind of Christmas that I had, the magical ones with ridiculous traditions the origins of which no one can remember but that cannot possibly be tampered with. The ones with food that nobody actually likes but always get made because that’s what you do at Christmas. In short, I want them to have the kind of Christmas that my mum made for me.
When I make the magic, I’m doing it because I want to. I can choose what kind of Christmas I want. We all can. And just because what I choose to do doesn’t match what someone else’s idea of how things should be doesn’t make mine wrong or theirs right. It’s just different.
I know that my experience of life is very different to many others but most of people in my world will watch that advert and think it’s funny because it reflects how things really are. When that mum sits down at the end of the Christmas Day with a glass of wine and surveys what she has achieved single-handedly, she can rightly feel proud. She has undertaken and produced the most long awaited and memorable event of most people’s year and the fact that that is a domestic task makes not one jot of difference and shouldn’t be allowed to undermine her achievement. And when Christmas Day is over, I shall feel proud like that too.