My Christmas That Was

Conor Collins

Conor Collins is an expressionist painter, Opera singer, actor and former Southern England Irish Dance champion. He has recently completed his undergraduate at the Royal Northern College of Music and has had his art shortlisted for the Outside in National Art Prize as well as the Saatchi Showdown 2011 drawing prize. Follow @Conartworks

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Christmas didn’t work out well for me. It was upon planning to buy some Christmas gifts for my nephew and niece that I came to the stark realization that, due to my bank balance, I will need to give them batteries with a note saying ‘toys not included’.

Women say shopping is like sex, and I would agree. I lasted about five minutes and then felt instantly tired.  Though I admit that’s a lie, the real reason I stopped shopping so early was that I was browsing through Primark… and a customer mistook me for an employee. I came home and just fell into bed in disgrace.

I stay clear of do-it-yourself gifts too. Due to my dyslexia and dyspraxia (and yes it took three attempts to type that) I now no longer buy self-assembling furniture. My last computer desk was more of a tie rack and I am paranoid if I go to buy a pillow from IKEA they will just give me a bag, a duck and some instructions.

And yes, I will call this period that has been Christmas, not Xmas… Xmas sounds like it should be treated with ointment. Boxing Day wasn’t much more fun. A small number of the guests were recovering alcoholics so there was a wee bit of offence upon the suggestion of cold turkey.

It is now, a week after Christmas, that I have discovered that I’ve put on a little ‘holiday weight’. This discovery came after dinner when I slumped upon a lovely bean bag only to discover… there was no bean bag.

We don’t do stockings this Christmas either since mum thought it amusing to just stuff them with odour-eaters. I was, however, always grateful for my gifts as a child but never had the guts to tell my parents what I really wanted… real-estate.

I am thankful I can now drink over the Christmas period. Whereas before I would see one Santa, this year I saw three. I loved the Christmas tree too, I feel I could connect with it on an intellectual level plus in both our cases our balls are just for decoration.

Despite how you may perceive me in my writing or in person, I am always awkward at parties, especially over the festive period. I am uncomfortable about the crowds of people and how they have changed more and more with each year. This is especially prominent in the gay scene where I am seeing more familiar face-lifts now than faces.

Too often the most fun part of a party is being able to have the invitation on your Facebook wall. Though nothing infuriates me more than not being invited to a party I would have hated to go to anyway. One main reason I am terrified of parties is the possibility of using the toilet, flushing it and the water rising unexpectedly… this is scarier to me than treading an ill-fated Lego brick.

I am still, however, waiting to find a beautiful hibernating hedgehog as I find nothing could be more delightful than training it to scuttle up and down my table as a magnificent mobile-cheese-and-pineapple-nibble-dispenser. If I ever do go missing at a party however it is likely you will find me in the ‘spare room’ underneath the pile of guests coats. I exhaust easily under the pressure of being remotely interesting.

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