The Laughing Toastmaster: Catching the Christmas Spirit

Christmas can be many things, a cozy family gathering, a delicious meal, too much boozy punch and even getting that expensive cashmere jumper you always wanted. (OK, I bought it for myself but it still counts).

Now ‘Christmas Spirit’ is another story. When people talk about the Christmas Spirit, I get anxious. I know they’re on to something that is innately good and special and wonderful. Something I’m supposed to have… but don’t. So instead, I get annoyed, killing whatever Christmas Spirit I had left.

Don’t get me wrong, I delve into December with the fervor of an elf on Red Bull. I write traditional paper cards (for those I love), send ecards (for the rest), ‘prepare’ Xmas pudding (I recommend Tesco’s Finest) and stock up on wine. Ask me to add ‘A little Christmas Spirit’ and I reach for the Rosé.

Take Christmas Crackers, for example. A fun way to break the ice and have a laugh, except if you lose. I’m so jealous I wait for everyone to get drunk to steal the little gifts. Don’t judge me. Who doesn’t want a miniature screwdriver?

Then there’s Advent Calendars. I give my four-year-old niece a chocolate one, so that every day she can enjoy a little treat. Unfortunately, her mum (beautiful, healthy sister) doesn’t approve and replaces the chocolates with raisins. No wonder the younger generations are growing up angry and depressed!

Sonia Aste Chirstmas Spirit

Christmas Gifts are another problem. We’re supposed to immerse ourselves in the joy of giving. Never mind my aunt Alicia always gives me, ‘The Thought That Counts’. It’s my lack of Christmas Spirit that makes me want to scream ‘You’re loaded! Buy presents you cheapskate!’

Christmas Trees aren’t so bad. I decorate my little conifer with love and attention. It looks great and I feel really happy, until I see my neighbor’s tree which looks fit for the Royal Albert Hall. A furious fit of ‘Tree Envy’ leads to ‘Tree Rage’ and I want to chop my tree for firewood. Where’s an ax when you need one?

Finally, Christmas Carols. Remember when we sang them with joy and abandon? Now we join in with timid trepidation, as most of them are considered non-PC.

  • ♫♫♫ Frosty the Snowman (should be snow-person).
  • ♫♫♫ Santa Claus is coming to town, he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake (assault on our civil liberties).
  • ♫♫♫ I’m dreaming of white Christmas (has to change to ‘I’m dreaming of a rainbow-coloured Christmas’, just to be on the safe side).

Family and friends go around with big, generous smiles saying things like ‘Isn’t it wonderful? It’s the Christmas Spirit! So catchy! It’s going around!’

Going around? Like the coronavirus? Because I’m double jabbed and getting the booster jab to boot. Has the vaccine made me immune to catching the Spirit too? Or does this virus-like-spirit take one look at me and says ‘Waste of time … too mean spirited’.

I realize that as a Toastmaster this is not the correct attitude to have! I should be a leader! A motivator! Someone who should be spreading the Christmas Spirit with the joy and happiness it deserves!

Caught up in this corrosive Christmas confusion, I decide to search for expert professional advice (as in, I google it) and the answer is simple! All you have to do is ‘tap into your inner child’! Now last time I tapped into anything (my savings) it drew a blank, but why not give it a go? I can create my own brand of Christmas Spirit by recalling what made me happy as a child!

So, if you’re someone who has yet to catch that spiteful spirit, don’t wait around! Take a hands-on approach like me. Here’s my list to get you started.


  1. Put a star on top of the Christmas tree – with your photo!
  2. Start the Christmas toast by saying, ‘I don’t want this to be all about me’, then make it all about you! You! You! You!
  3. Get yourself a chocolate advent calendar and eat all the chocolates the same day!
  4. Forget Santa, write a Xmas list to yourself and buy everything in it.
  5. Early Christmas morning shout at the top of your voice, ‘WAKE UP EVERYONE! LET’S OPEN THE PRESENTS!’

Because when it comes to Christmas, ‘You don’t have to be a kid to act like one’.

Merry Christmas!

——— Sonia Aste is a Toastmaster working on her personal brand of Xmas Spirit. She is a member of the Riverside Communicators Club.
——— More from Sonia on her website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram