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Matt Haig on Christmas: ‘It was an anchor at the bottom of the year. It fixed my childhood in place’

Dec 2nd, 2016 by

The festive period can feel overly sentimental and commercialised, but it also serves as a beacon of hope and joy. Plus: Jenni Murray, John Cooper Clarke, Katherine Jenkins and others on what Christmas means to them

People tend to be snobby about Christmas, and they tend to be particularly snobby about the cultural things it produces: the overly commercialised songs, movies and TV ads. The excess and sentimentality of it, the inclusive, populist spirit, seem designed to bring out the Ebenezer Scrooge in even the most uncommitted of cultural snobs.

I will never join them. Yes, I know Christmas can be a pain. When I was suffering from serious depression, the whole season became a tormenting joke, my own misery highlighted by the contrast with the jollity of my surroundings. But Christmas was also one of the things that helped get me out of that depression. It helped as a marker of progress, since it was always easier to remember Christmases in a way that you can’t remember, say, Octobers.

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