There are two reasons why I don’t like Christmas crackers. The first is practical. My major worry at Christmas is that the dinner isn’t served cold. Plates must be warmed! And ingrediets must be served in a timely manner! When you are sitting down to Christmas dinner and have just managed to get the food material onto your plate before it gets cold – the turkey (some prefer goose); the roast potatoes and boiled potatoes; the sprouts; the carrots; the stuffing; sausages maybe (though not for me a confusion of meats). On top of which the wine in the glass (red or white; who is wanting what?) Remember the confusion of St Nicholas? And there lying parallel to the cutlery or sometimes diagonally across the plate like a despised weapon is the Xmas cracker. And in a chaos of elbows they are pulled and the wine glasses are knocked over and people read out jokes or look for reading glasses and put paper hats on and insist you put a paper hat on, which I won’t, and through it all my dinner is gretting colder on the plate.
The second reason is ideological. I refuse to be processed through Christmas in the habitual manner. The xmas cracker is emblematic of this delivery system. I reckon Adorno and the Frankfurt school would have none of the Christmas cracker. The authorities will look to channel me through xmas via christmas strictly come dancing, the X-mas factor, Slade and Wizard and Dean Martin with his smug Xmas medley in Tesco. I know the counter argument: that the ritual of crap jokes and cold dinner is a meaningless sequence through which we construct more significant meaning, a radical overhaul of the habitual quest for material value; working against the grain. But sorry, I can’t be dealing with this post-modern version of christmas crackerdom.
When we go round to my other sister’s house on Boxing Day for what I refer to as the return fixture there will be more crackers laid out: so-called luxury crackers. The ideological struggle goes on.