Those Christmas Hot Takes: a rundown.

It’s that time of year again! Pretty lights are being strung up over the dreariest streets, jingling bells have been added to the Pop Master theme tune, shopping centres are becoming Panic Zones, couples are arguing about whose parents they’ll be spending the day with this time round, unsuspecting babies are being dressed up in absurd yet adorable costumes, and folks my age are regretting offering to host their extended families for the first time. 

Yes, it’s a great time of year when all sorts of lovely things happen and awful traditions are enacted. Another thing that has been happening for the past few years on social media is people throwing out buzzwords and Hot Takes that, frankly, we are all sick of hearing. So here, let me give you a little guide to each of them (in case you missed any, because you have no access to the internet apparently – in which case, how did you get here?! Whoa), and debunk things a bit. 

'Love, Actually' is problematic, actually.

Yes, we’ve all read those Buzzfeed articles and seen the influencer retweets and basically, YAWN. We get it. This modern classic Christmas film penned by Richard Curtis with editing done by his wife, Emma Freud, may actually have been one of the last good eggs in the seemingly endless era of rom coms – don’t @ me – and while so many of us hold it so dearly and insist ‘it’s not Christmas until I’ve seen that scene with the signs on the doorstep’, over the past few years more and more of us are realising it’s really quite horrible in some bits.

First, there’s the cheating husband (say what you will about this plot line, but don’t tell me Emma Thompson’s breakdown in her bedroom, perfectly set to the sad sounds of Joni Mitchell, doesn’t make you sob hysterically). 

Then we have the Prime Minister wanting to shag his in-house Essex girl with the ‘sizeable arse’ who serves him and his cabinet tea and biscuits. In fact, he wants her so badly he feels the need to sack her. Makes perfect sense; take away her actual livelihood because she's a distraction for you. 

And how about the office assistant who fancies a colleague but when they finally hook up, he can’t seem to understand she needs to prioritise her mentally ill brother over his D? 

And then of course there’s the best man who fancies the bride and records a shockingly creepy wedding film that’s just super close up shots of her – that is, to be clear here, his best mate’s wife – before declaring his love for her through some large handwritten signs on the doorstep of her new home, with her new husband just inside, on the sofa – that is, the best friend of the man declaring the love. Yeah.

Okay, so ‘Love, Actually’ is a ridiculous story in so many ways. But then, the rest of it is alright. It’s more than alright, in my opinion – it’s sweet, it’s funny, and it’s Christmassy. So before you kick off yet again when you see it playing on ITV at the beginning of December – then again the week before the big day – maybe decide if it’s really worth all the breath, or if you should just settle down, shove a mince pie in your mouth and enjoy the priceless Rowan Atkinson cameo (when he plays a character who, FYI, Emma Freud admits was meant to be a sort of guardian angel for Snape’s wife). 

When can we start playing Christmas music?

Whenever you damn well please. Well, yes, it’s a bit disconcerting when you go into a shop in mid-October and have them playing Buble’s Christmas album full blast, but to each their own, okay? 
(FYI, my rule is: it's Halloween, then Bonfire Night, then a week's break, then Christmas.) 

The 'Baby, it’s Cold Outside' lyrics tell the tale of a man exerting pressure on a woman to spend the night with him, by not letting her go home – and he may or may not have put drugs in her drink!?

First of all, it really depends which version you listen to, folks. I heard one the other day, in a shop, in which the woman very clearly sings ‘I said no, thanks’, and obvs that raised a red flag, but the original version isn’t really that sketchy. I think the story the song is trying to get across is simply one of cautious but playful flirtation.

Having said that, if you totally abhor the song and refuse to listen to it, please check out this version (that came out in 2016 but I’ve only just found it, k?) by Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski; ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside [Consent]’. 

You're such a card. 

I’m definitely seeing the cutie pies at Paperchase casually pinching some vibes from the naughty shop Scribbler this year; there are a few different collections of cards on their shelves that say #quirky things like ‘I like you, so here’s a folded piece of card’, ‘hope your Christmas is as good as this card’ and ‘careful, sharp edges’, and oh god the originality and hilarity is peak, yeah.

Call me crazy, but I don’t care that much about cards at Christmas time. No wait, I’m conflicted actually; I believe in the good of buying packs of cards from a charity (oh, here’s a handy link to my favourite charity’s range!) but then I also know the harmful impact on our poor planet, and god, they’re expensive! The average card these days is £2.50, and a couple of packs will set you back a tenner, at least. Why can’t we just ping someone a nice text or DM in the week before the 25th, or actually make an effort to see people we really care about and wish them a Merry Whatever?

...but then, I do enjoy receiving cards in the post from friends I don't get to see too often; and sending them to those people, too! Okay, right, I'm taking this hot take off the table. It's still not 100% clear in my head. 

"You scumbag, you maggot, you… ???"

Yes, this is another song with arguably problematic lyrics. But we must bear in mind, it was written and recorded 30 years ago, when offhand insults were quite different and minds were much smaller. We really shouldn’t take it so seriously; the song starts with drunken slurs, ffs. And controversial moment here, brace yourself; I don’t care for this song at all, while it’s a firm favourite for many of my friends. To each their own, innit. 

Michael Buble lives in a cave and gets defrosted every Christmas lololol 

Super funny 5-year-old meme, love it, excellent work – tbh I’m delighted for him to be so popular at this time of year and kinda envious he gets a nice fat sack of royalties from shops, cafes, car parks, schools and even bloody gyms all over the world who play his Christmas album every December. Good for him. 

Right, that’s it. Got any more for me? Hit me up in comments or via tweet. And have a very merry, hot take-free Christmas. 


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