Christmas 2014: Sarah Tanat-Jones on what she loves and hates about the festive season

  • The List
  • 14 November 2014
It's Not Christmas Without . .

Musician and illustrator explains family chaos surrounding the actual day and why she loves sparkles

The festive season brings both fear and fun into our lives. Musician/ illustrator Sarah Tanat-Jones, aka Synaesthete runs through her own pros and cons of Christmas …


Favourite Christmas Song
'Ring Out Solstice Bells', by Jethro Tull. Dad plays this song every Christmas. This song makes me feel excited and happy; it's one of the last relics of childhood that's still available to me. It's so good. It's got hand claps and a flute and it's not even about Christmas! It's about the Solstice. 'Mon the pagans!

Christmas Chores
My birthday is on December 20th, so every year, two things happen: 1. I get asked by everyone 'Do you get combined presents then? That's not very fair, is it?!' And I have to smile and laugh and make a joke about it, but inside I'm crying because 2. Every year I get combined presents.So unfair!

Favourite Christmas Film
It is, without question, The Muppet Christmas Carol. This film has it all: muppets, songs, dancing, tears, the reprehensible nature of social inequality at Christmas time. Nowadays it actually makes me well up when I watch it each year. Yes, Muppets make me cry.

It happens every year, my family gets together and we all argue for four full days, except for when we're dancing to tinselly, naff Christmas songs or getting drunk. I don't see my two sisters together that often, we all live in different cities. So the volume is awesome.

Oh the silver tinsel, oh the ruby red baubles, oh the twinkly lights. OH THE JOY.


Actual Christmas Day.
It's a bit of a letdown, isn't it? All those countdowns and soft-focussed adverts, and it's all led up to this: THE SUN IS SHINING OUTSIDE. It's supposed to be a snowy wonderland. And things just go downhill from there.

Despite my birthday gripes, I actually don't like receiving presents all that much. They're never exactly what you'd choose yourself, you have to store them somewhere or figure out when to make the trip to the charity shop. I can't help thinking about all the wastefulness, not to mention my nearest and dearest spending money they could probably put to much better use. Just paint me a little postcard or something.

Because you've spent the previous eleven months doing exactly as you please and trying to muddle along as best you can. And at Christmas come the questions, the ones that make you feel like a sorry teenager. Oh, so you still haven't finished that thesis / learned to drive / found a boyfriend? Oh.

Going back to your flat afterwards

It's cold. Your now old cards are sitting on the shelf. There's no food apart from that banana that's gone mouldy. And, worst, it's empty.

Sarah Tanat-Jones aka Synaesthete will be performing at Kid Canaveral's Xmas Baubles, Portobello Town Hall, Edinburgh, Sun 13 Dec. Her album Array is out now at

Synaesthete - Land

Kid Canaveral's Christmas Baubles

An all day indie Christmas party curated by Kid Canaveral.

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