Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Feeling Festive

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Image courtesy of thetreetopper.com

Halloween is now a distant memory. Pumpkins are slowly decaying in back gardens, the cat ears have been chucked into the wardrobe for another year, and the remnants of fake blood have finally lifted out of the carpet. For many people, this can mean only one thing: Christmas is coming. While it may be a time of love and good cheer, I rarely think that ‘tis the season to be jolly. I don’t know why, but for several years now, I’ve become increasingly Grinch-like in the run up to Christmas, and not just because I can’t be bothered to shave my legs. I shout at the telly whenever festive adverts come on, I roll my eyes when I walk into a shop blaring out Slade, and I never cry at the John Lewis advert. Christmas presents are usually bought in a hurry on December 22nd. This year, however, I stumbled across the first of my Christmas presents in October. OCTOBER. On Halloween, I decided to really mess with the system and made mulled cider. In the first week of November, my housemate and I had a serious discussion about coordinating our tackiest Christmas jumpers, and decided they could be officially unveiled on the 25th, one month before the big day. I then had a sickening realisation that if I carried on, I’d become the sort of smug, festive freak you see posting on Facebook about how they’ve bought their presents and put their Christmas tree up sometime in August before the schools go back. The sort of person that, usually, I would like to strangle with a string of tinsel before placing them, posterior first, onto their bauble-clad foliage.

I decided to roll with this festive feeling, and see if I could make it last. I didn’t want to get too ahead of myself, so decided to incorporate something into my week that was enough to establish a festive feeling without dressing up as the Virgin Mary, hooking up to an IV drip of sherry, and throwing baubles at passers-by. Unfortunately neither my jeans, nor my bank balance could stretch to full turkey dinners and mince pies every day, so I decided to go for my next favourite thing after food: glitter.

On day 1, I decided to start low-key with a pair of sparkly purple socks. As I strolled out the house to lectures, I noticed an odd spring in my step. Admittedly, this was largely in an attempt to avoid the puddles gradually spreading over campus, but despite the fact no one else could see my glamourous foot attire, I still felt like I could take on the world. This was until my shoes flooded, and my dripping festive footwear was resigned to the radiator.

My socks dried, day 2 came along, and I refused to let the weather dampen my spirits as well as my socks. The rain was biblical in proportion, so after building an ark and collecting pairs of animals, I set about finding something sparkly to brighten my day. Rifling through my cupboard, I came across a kit containing a bottle of nail varnish and a tub of pink glitter that I’d been given last Christmas. I’m not an expert in the manicure department, so slathered my nails in varnish and then wodged them into the mound of pink glitter. As far as I’m concerned, they looked glorious. The texture was somewhat comparable to sand paper, but they left a delightful sparkling trail in their midst, which heightened my festive cheer. As well as working its way into my hair and eyebrows, the sparkly substance also adorned the walls, carpet, and my clothing. Aged 13 I would have killed for a pair of glittery jeans (I wasn’t one for high fashion), and now, nearly 9 years later, my dream had come true. Every time I caught the light I admired my new sheen, and felt like a less effeminate Edward Cullen.

I realised with horror on day 3 that most of my iridescent eyeshadows were at home. I was going to have to improvise. I located the only eyeshadow I could find with visible glitter in it, and brushed it generously onto my eyelids. It was not enough. ‘MORE GLITTER’ I cackled like a maniacal toddler, and proceeded to apply the glitter from my nail kit to my eyes and face. I looked as if I’d been punched in both eyes by a contestant on Rupaul’s Drag Race.

While the previous day’s makeup experiment had been mildly horrifying, I was still not dreading Christmas, and like a frantic magpie rooted through my wardrobe to find something that hinted at being festive. Out came a gold clutch bag and pink and gold scarf. I threw it on, and, as if by magic, it looked as though I’d made an effort with my outfit! Off I trotted into town, feeling cheerful and shiny, to buy something sparkly for my cosmetics bag to rectify yesterday’s situation.

When I was 14 I owned approximately 4 billion liquid glitter eyeliners in as many different colours, which had gradually depleted in number over the years. After a quick trip into Bodycare, I armed myself with a gold glitter eyeliner. For the final day of my challenge I relived my youth with a thin slick of glitter lining the tops of my eyes. Traumatic flashbacks of discos in church halls filled my mind, but I was determined to see this challenge through. On leaving the flat I was greeted by a gust of wind so forceful that my eyes and nose started streaming, dislodging my neatly drawn lines. I was literally crying glitter. Christmas spirit was pouring from my eyes, a beautiful allegory for the loss of my festive cheer, and while I’m still inordinately excited for Chrimbo in comparison to previous years, I will be renouncing all bodily glitter for a very long time. And please don’t make me listen to Slade.