Last year on Christmas Eve the Times produced a list of 50 variables that they described as the defining factors to how middle class your Christmas was. As you can imagine, filled with hopes of eschewing the trends, the family gathered round with building confidence that we were leaders as opposed to followers and would therefore be exempt of the festive clichés outlined by a national newspaper.
Sadly, although Dad claimed to not know who she was whilst drinking out of an Emma Bridgewater mug and in spite of grandma’s protest that Goose was no more middle class than turkey, the score we achieved on this test was of heights a student can only dream of. So this year I decided that instead of playing into the hands of a multinational corporation owned by Rupert Murdoch, for nothing can be less cultural, I would make our own version. After all, anything The Times can do, we can do better.
So here you have it, the CV’s guide to a Cultural Christmas.
Books over TV!
Whilst the rest of the nation will be united in their Christmas Day habit of stuffing their faces with leftover turkey sandwiches, eyes glued to the screen to find out (a) whether Mary will ever pick a new male suitor, (b) ‘One’s’ a.k.a Dear Little Queenie’s musings on 2K13 and (c) what ever would happen in a Dr Who special [like a Culture Vulture would know that!?!]. But not us, no! This year will be remembered as the year Love Actually didn’t play. Or as that one Christmas no one wept whilst watching George Bailey remind us of how wonderful life really is. Primetime entertainment is far too mainstream for our likings so why not whip out an old Penguin Classic and have live coverage of the King’s choir carols blasting from your speakers – it will provide a nice change from Mariah and Wham!
Tinsel *shudder*. Fibre optics – the shame. Anything any colour other than green gold or red, HORROR!! Really, making your own anything is a win in the cultural charts, as over-consumption is one of the most frowned upon habits of the non-cultural. The more rubbish rustic looking the better, think Liberty of London combined with a Year 2 craft class.
Christmas somehow seems to reveal the tackiness in even the most minimalist of interior designs. So whilst the etiquette of Christmas tree decoration is one so complex that we would need a whole new blog post about it, may we suggest greenery collected from the forests, hand-printed papers chains or an edible Christmas tree adorned with silver balls. All tried and tested methods guaranteed to secure you the chicest Christmas house on the block.
With Nigella showing us how to throw a Christmas Italian style this year, at least that is the case if you are watching BBC 2 on a Monday evening, and after all who isn’t, us Culture Vultures are celebrating Natale instead this year. And whilst not all of us can head home to Rome for the festive season (damn you Babs), and bringing up conversation about Miss Lawson at the Christmas table will undoubtedly open the gates to a whole host of white powder related jokes [we would never be so cheap], we assure you that the Italian version really is the way to go. Serve pannetone, drink lots of Prosecco and wish everyone a ‘Buon Natale’, because nothing can be more cultural that a mildly pissed Brit attempting to speak a foreign language.
Galleries and Shows:
Because the best gift is always the memories. So make sure the memories you make this Christmas are ones that will cement you in the Culture Vultures hall of fame. Think the Pearl exhibition at the V&A with a cheeky picture in front of the Helen and Colin David ‘Red Velvet Tree of Love’. Or you can never go wrong with a Mathew Bourne production of ‘Swan Lake’. Or for those of you lucky enough to secure tickets to the Royal Opera House this season – do us all proud by instagramming the shit out of that architectural delight.
Yule Log (Beetroot):
So whilst the un-culturally aware will look down their snooty noses at the Chocolate Yule Log, viewing it as the Daily Mail of the Christmas desserts, the Culture Vulture knows of the plethora of potential this seemingly simple pudding holds. By simply adding beetroot (for nothing is more pretentious in the baking world than adding obscure vegetables to cake, and no carrots don’t count), not only will you end up with a healthier and springier sponge, you can also drag out ten minutes of dinner time conversation forcing people to guess the ingredients of your cake and then bore them to death with the health benefits of beets. This will undoubtedly secure you an invitation to next year’s party, whilst also buying you the title “Head of Edgy Desserts”.
Ginger bread house:
Any opportunity to show off your artistic skills on something edible is a chance not to be missed, however a ginger bread house is also a great opportunity to get your family involved in the Cultural Christmas fun. But this year instead of opting for the picturesque, snow covered white creation your mum usually fawns overs and places centre stage of the festive decorations, why not encourage younger cousins to unleash their inner artists and go more abstract with their designs. May we suggest a Mondrian inspired box of biscuit and some Degas ballerinas inhabiting the house as oppose to the usual snowmen. For no small child should be limited to the cultural clichés that our society has imposed upon them during the Christmas season, and as truly educated folk it is our job to release them from these constraints.
N.B. If the artistic collaborations prove fruitless, (maybe the little ones are too high off sugar and artificial additives), why not suggest an in season outfit for the bite-sized biscuit men lucky enough to inhabit the alpine dream house. Rumour has it that tartan is very in this season, especially when paired with an icing-fur collar. Maybe a mood board outlining your expectations from the build is a good way to kick-start this afternoon of fun.