greenbottletree











The time between Christmas and New Year has always felt like a waiting room, indeed this year, feeling as ropey and sleep-deprived (yes, it is 2 something in the morning as I start to write – my earliest blog posting!) as I currently do, like a doctor’s waiting room.  I have spent this week, or at least parts of it, ill for so many years and I have usually squandered the time off, working only four years that I can think of over this week. Nothing is normal for there are new “toys” to play with and find homes for, the shops are in a state of confusion, getting rid of Christmassy things and putting the previous season’s stock on sale, everyone is hanging out for the next big day, which is New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day, and everyone always seems exhausted and/or ill.

A friend asked me yesterday if I had got to the stage of a kind of boredom associated with this particular week.  I realised that for the first time in years I hadn’t.  On Boxing Day I was largely ill (I have one of the heaviest colds I have ever had and it must be bad because I have been craving chocolates and treat food in a way I rarely do – kind of how you’d expect to be if you had worms!) and enjoyed being tucked up in a blanket watching TV/films.  Yesterday, I had a bit of holiday shopping to do and at home I largely sat around, ate mince pies, Christmas pudding and chocolates (yes, I really went  for it!), did a bit of holiday sorting/cleaning/packing and tried every remedy I could think of to try and alleviate the earache I have (getting better now, fortunately) ahead of tonight’s three-hour flight.  The latter took up quite a bit of time: bath, steam bath, Google search, yawning, chewing toffees (great excuse and it did help a teeny tiny bit) and fighting an unexpectedly successful battle to not feel sorry for myself – I am convinced I will go deaf on the plane, particularly as this actually happened to a friend of mine.

So here I am, awake with a blocked nose, writing what I am anticipating will be my final blog of the year ahead of five nights in Reykjavik, where rumour has it it will be snowing on Saturday and Sunday, where I am truly looking forward to going to the Blue Lagoon, essentially one huge steam bath – surely that will clear my head – and where I will be to end 2012 and start 2013.

Is there a point to this post?  Yes, yes, there is.  It is to embrace being poorly over the Christmas to New Year week, for then you can justify sitting around eating treats (satisfying your poor poorly body’s cravings/needs, of course) and watching television/reading books and to go away in the middle of this week, allowing guilt-free pre-holiday shopping (to be extended to sale shopping if that’s your thing), and then the final otherwise potentially wasted days of the end of the year (sorry to the four friends I have who have birthdays in this week) being spent somewhere you really want to be with friends you really want to be with!

So, assuming awful things don’t happen to my poor ears and I finish writing this and fall asleep (the potential is there now, I am starting to get heavy-eyed and I’m definitely typing slower), I would say this has been a most successful between-Christmas-and-New-Year week, even making the most of feeling pretty dreadful!

So, in light of the fact I have decided to have a Facebook/laptop/internet/mobile phone-free mini break over the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013, Happy New Year and I will be back on 2nd January, or the 3rd if things don’t go to plan with our flights home (which I do have reason to believe could be the case as we don’t really know what airline we’re getting due to airlines going bust, etc, etc).  I should also add, to my immense surprise, that as of tomorrow I will have written this blog for a whole year (with some holidays off) and for me (who never manages to keep things up for long) this has been a huge achievement.  May your 2013 be full of surprises, good surprises.



{27/12/2012}   Post-Christmas sales

I hate crowds and I hate busy shops, ergo I am not a sales shopper.  But for some inexplicable reason, every year I go into a town around this time of year and force myself to endure a bit of the sales experience.  It then means I can have a first hand rant about it all. However, this year, despite amazing sales figures, I have had two forays into town, both of which were largely bearable.  There is something both exciting and primitive (I’m referring to the odd tussle I’ve witnessed before) about sales for it is a joy to find a bargain.

I know a few people who have queued for the Next sale.  In the early hours of the morning.  This horrifies me.  They always come back laden with Next Sale bags and a long receipt, necessary for returns due to the inability to try things on what with all the people crammed into the shop.  I just couldn’t do it.  Love a bargain though I do, I cannot and will not put myself in a situation where there will be hundreds of (largely) women all prepared to push and shove to get the things they want and then to have to endure queues to pay.  I usually deposit my purchases near the queue area if I see more than a certain number of people queuing.  This has happened possibly 90% of times I’ve gone into Primark.

As a child, my mum loved the Harrod’s sale and we would often go there, as I recall for the last day of the sale.  It was always crazy busy but we always got a few things.  I remember going once and buying a £1 sugar bowl with the lid missing because it was originally £199.  I have no idea how or why it was ever that expensive, even with the lid, for it was a, ahem, distinctive shade of orange.

That, however, is a problem I have with sales, the mentality of, “Well, it’s not my size but it’s 70% off so I’ll buy it”.  I have a pair of trousers that I’ve never worn bought for their bargain status (100% wool and beautifully lined).  They might fit me one day, but I might not want them then.  Oh well, they were a bargain though and they do look lovely in my wardrobe!

This year, despite my little jaunt to the shops, which left me surprisingly unscathed and with a wallet no lighter than when I set off, I kind of enjoyed looking around.  I didn’t really see much that seemed a bargain to me, and anyway there have been sales all year.  Two years ago, traumatised by an early attempt at sales shopping, I left it until the end of January to venture back to the shops, going to Bluewater on a mission to buy work clothes.  I came away with some amazing bargains, though a lot were bought more because they were my size and a bargain rather than their being clothes I might otherwise have bought.  Another issue with sales.  I did enjoy that shopping trip and I did get some great clothes for a fraction of their original price.

My ultimate aim this year (and into next year) is to stay away from the shops and the sales as there is nothing I need.  It’s just so tempting sometimes to have a peek and it really is very satisfying to get a bargain!

 



{26/12/2012}   Christmas 2012

I write this with a heavy cold, very tired from having barely slept last night and surrounded by chocolates and sodden tissues.  Outside it’s blowing a gale and it keeps raining but I’ve just watched the original 1947 Miracle on 34th Street, I’m at home with my feet up and Christmas lights on and somehow I’m feeling the love for Christmas.

Christmas these days is just my mum and I, though Chris joined us in time for dinner (although he is currently in bed poorly!).  My mum and I had a lovely day yesterday.  My cold didn’t get bad until about the time Downton Abbey started (mum’s TV choice not mine, I’d never seen it before, except for last year’s Christmas Day special!) so all went to plan, possibly a first.  I had wanted dinner for 7 pm and somehow it was all ready to be served at 7 pm.  This year’s goose came out the oven with a crispy skin (the excessive consumption of which is suspected to be the cause of Chris’s dicky tum!) and all went well with dinner, including crispy roasties and a passable brussels sprouts dish.

My mum and I didn’t argue once, we didn’t over-eat Christmas chocolates or get wasted on daytime drinks (has happened!) and neither of us were particularly ill (apparently one year my dad and I had flu and didn’t get up all day and I had a fair few years when I had bad tonsilitis!).  I like mum coming to mine because it’s the only time I see her sitting down doing next to nothing … well, she does have a soft spot for children’s films so managed to watch a fair few, with Tangled being quite a hit.

We even managed to go for a walk along the beach when it wasn’t raining.  It was incredibly windy but blew away all cobwebs and woke us both up no end!

As ever, we spoilt each other with too many presents – making up for small family Christmasses!  We each had our stocking, as did Chris when he arrived, and we both had time to “play” with presents!  Even the cat got involved and chased around the wrapping paper and balls of used sticky tape.  Oh, and she chewed a sheet of bubble wrap.

I was in the kitchen on and off from 3 pm to 7 pm, though the latter hour aided by bubbly (whoop!).  I enjoyed it, particularly as everything seemed to go so smoothly and I got the cooking time right for the goose, which I didn’t last year.

This is all very disjointed and not interesting to other people to read but for all the stresses surrounding Christmas, it’s the only time of year I will eat something I hate (brussels sprouts) just because it’s what you do on that particular day.  Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without your family traditions, some general traditions and a few new things.  It is for me about family, no matter how small your family and no matter whether those family members are real family or friend family.  It’s a lovely time of year, even if the odds seem high that at least someone will have some kind of ailment or there will be arguments and dinner issues!



{24/12/2012}   Christmas films

I have largely spent today in front of the television watching dreadfully cheesy Christmas films, none of which were classics, even with a stretch of the imagination.  I am currently watching a new animated Christmas Carol (which is a classic, and is indeed one of my favourite ever stories) with the lovely voice of Colin Firth, though sadly I will have to miss the end as I will be watching The Snowman and The Snow Dog.  Today’s enlightenment has been that I love watching cheesy Christmas films and that I can watch them all day long.

Christmas really is the only time of year when I can listen to awful music and watch awful films and I absolutely love it.  It’s like an excuse to succumb to guilty pleasures I fear I may be in denial about, ie a propensity for cheesiness!  But all these stories about Father Christmas, the North Pole, elves, reindeer, lovely things happening, magic, families, love all around (or, as in Love Actually, Christmas all around!) and sleighs and sleigh bells … oh, it is just like having a warm bowl of stew, a hot mug of chocolate or your feet in fluffy slippers, wrapped in a blanket, sitting in front of the television … hee, hee, I may be giving too much away as to where I am while writing this!

Tomorrow, I expect my mum and I will go through the TV guide and have mini squabbles as to who will watch what, though we are both likely to want to watch cheesy films.  I have said it before but Polar Express is one of my favourite ever films to watch at Christmas.  I also love The Snowman (not long to go!), Christmas Carol … no, no, there are just too many to list.  I would like to watch It’s a Wonderful Life, I haven’t seen that in years.  Ah, yes, I’m thinking of all the films I enjoy watching.  I even like watching Back to the Future around this time of year, despite it not being a Christmassy film.  I wish Christmas TV listings could go on for longer or there were another time of year when such films were aired, perhaps a  six-month Christmas on 25th June?

I am writing this in a state of distraction as I am rather enjoying this Christmas Carol and am getting twitchy about getting dinner sorted before The Snowman.  Oh, it’s all a bit much.  I had to stop myself going through the TV listings and highlighting all the films I wanted to see.  We used to do that, though there were then issues about dinner times and things clashing.  If only we had Sky Plus in those days, indeed it would be quite useful now too!  But there is something nice about catching bits of films you’ve seen quite a few times as it all adds to memories of Christmases gone by.

So with that, I wish you a very, very Happy Christmas and I shall take tomorrow off so I can watch films, eat too much and drink too much!  I will be in no fit state to write a post!  HAPPY CHRISTMAS!



There are not that many things I do every year but, in December, I now realise there are a few things I do every year and which are a huge part of my enjoyment of Christmas and New Year.  The longest-standing event is Christmas karaoke, which I have organised for at least nine consecutive years and which took place last Sunday (fabulous and festive as ever).  Yesterday, a friend and I did a recently started annual trip to get our Christmas Day food and we both had a fantastic day, preceded by dinner with three others and lots of Christmassy vibes.  Sadly though, another annual tradition, going to Whitstable (hmm, a theme!) on New Year’s Eve with a friend, won’t happen this year, though we have arranged to go a few days later so that kind of still counts.  But for someone who eschews routine in the sense of set times and days of the week (why I have never and would never do a weekly club, eg 7 pm every Monday night), I find reassurance and comfort in these December traditions.

Yesterday’s food shopping trip is getting more organised by the year.  My friend, N, booked her meat collection in advance so just had to collect and pay for it.  Quite specifically, the meat is from the Butcher of Brogdale, just outside Faversham.  I didn’t need as much, though I did collect a pre-ordered goose from another one of our annual shop (farm) stops.  As ever, we got all excited about the Christmassy meat counter and all the lovely meat – this time of year really does bring out the carnivore in me and we both had a surprisingly serious conversation about what would happen if some foul person stole my car (not a huge issue in this scenario) with our c35kg (no kidding) of meat (we concluded that if a vegetarian stole the car and the meat, that would be the worst case scenario!).  We then headed to a farm, Mallards, to get Christmas vegetables.  Again, this was more exciting than being about eight years old in a sweet shop with an unlimited budget!  We then drove round the corner, albeit through muddy and flooded country lanes, to Monkshill Farm where I collected my goose and got two dozen free range eggs, laid that day.  By this point we were full of the joys of Christmas, so much so N was singing “Mistletoe & Wine” with a little more enthusiasm than I would necessarily think acceptable for a Cliff song, but hey ho it all added to the Christmas buzz!

Our final food stop was in Whitstable at The Cheese Box to buy … well, cheese.  Lots of it.  We queued for about 20 minutes then spent as long as everyone else had at the counter, both ordering and sampling!  I love cheese, though I don’t really understand why something so rich and fatty has become a Christmas tradition as I’m not sure I’ve ever managed to eat cheese on Christmas Day, due largely to all round food consumption excess.  However, it has to be bought.

Our final stop, as ever, was for lunch (a late 3pm lunch, in part because we actually got organised and booked somewhere and that was the only available time) and this year we ate at Wheelers in Whitstable.  It’s a fish and seafood – “restaurant” would make it seem big and fancy, it’s not, there are only, I believe, 16 covers.  But, oh my, each of our three courses were utterly exquisite.  I can understand why every Christmas Eve the same 16 people dine there for the first sitting and the same 16 people dine there for the first sitting; apparently no one else will get a look-in to eat there on Christmas Eve unless and until one of the regulars dies.  I now get why those 32 people go there year in year out; some traditions are too good to give up.

We then stopped at a shop we also shopped at last year for a foil goose tray and festive serviettes before walking to the car, in the rain, laden with cheese and a few other goodies and me with my goose tray acting as an umbrella.  We got our feet wet and muddy and needed a torch to walk along the path back to the car, but it was all just lovely and Christmassy and delightfully similar to last year’s exploits!  Though we have decided to order our cheese in advance next year.  So I guess 2013 could be our most organised Christmas Day ever, but even if it weren’t it would still be a hugely enjoyable day out.

 

 



{18/12/2012}   The Snowman

I love animation, children’s stories and Christmas so for me The Snowman has always been a film I have enjoyed and which I reckon I’ve watched most years on the television.  It was first aired in 1982 and has been shown every Christmas except 2003 (to coincide with a DVD special edition).  This year, a sequel will be aired, The Snowman and the Snowdog.  I am ridiculously excited about seeing it.

For me the story of The Snowman is magical because it brings to life a snowman and an ordinary child gets to fly and go to the North Pole.  These are all things that I’ve always wanted to see and do!  I don’t know why I never tire of it or feel I’ve outgrown it, I even love the music, Walking in the Air. 

This year, I have read a fair bit about the making of the sequel, and an added element is that now I appreciate more the hard work that goes into illustrating and colouring in each frame by hand.  12 drawings are needed per second of action and the film is 24 minutes long.  I find this truly amazing.  This just adds to how special it is.  It also increases the intensity of my belief that it was genius of Raymond Briggs to refuse a sequel.  He could easily have cashed in and produced a story each year, but he had written the story as a one-off; after all, the snowman melts.

I am glad this sequel got Raymond Briggs’ blessing and input and I like that it’s set in the same house, which over the 30 years has been modernised!  I also think it’s a nice idea that there is another family living there and another young boy.  The sequel starts off sadly, with the death of the family’s old dog.  There is then a snowdog, which is a lovely idea.  I don’t think the dog’s death is the key sad event but apparently it’s a real tear jerker.  I cry at the original, which ultimately is “merely” because a snowman melts. 

I also think the writers have been clever to have some familiar London scenes, for example the Oxo Tower and the Houses of Parliament.  I am also very excited that there will be penguins, though I have a slight niggle they are solely birds of the South Pole? 

I know it might seem a bit sad to be of undeniable adult age and be looking forward to an animated film, but in the days of amazing computer generated graphics a film created by humans and pencils is a joy and a work of art.

So where will I be at 8pm on Christmas Eve?  Yes, in front of the TV ignoring any phone calls, though whereas I would have more likely first watched it with a mug of hot chocolate to hand, now it will more likely be a glass of Baileys (cos it’s Christmassy, right?!).  Roll on Christmas Eve!



{17/12/2012}   Christmas songs

I don’t watch music channels on the television except from the point I start doing Christmassy things until Christmas Day.  On Saturday afternoon, doing the last of my wrapping and writing some cards, I watched and listened to Christmas charts.  I realise that I’ve done this ever since I’ve had digital TV and access to music channels.  Oh how I miss Top of the Pops.  I digress; back to the Christmas songs.

On Saturday I watched a Top 50 “Winter Wonderland” chart that I’d seen before  on my last wrapping day.  It is an annoying chart because I’ve never heard of the band (I assume), Stooshe, who allegedly chose the chart and who talk in between songs.  It also bothers me that they have Last Christmas as number one and I don’t like that song.  I don’t know why, I just don’t like it much.  As far as I’m concerned no self-respecting chart wouldn’t have Fairytale of New York and Do They Know It’s Christmas (the original version) in the top three.  I will allow a bit of flexibility with a third song as there are lots of others I like.

Every year, I hear the same songs over and over again and I ruddy well love it!  Annoyingly though, it’s usually ones I’m less keen on that stick in my head.  Thinking about it now, I’ve been humming Cliff’s Mistletoe and Wine.  Noooooo!   I am far from being a Cliff Richard fan but it is quite a festive little ditty.  It wouldn’t be the same without the video though, him with skinny jeans and a shoulder-emphasising top singing in a snowy setting with choir children and festive things.

I was also reminded that the Cheeky Girls did an utterly dreadful Christmas number, Cheeky Christmas.  The video was also a shameless gold hot pant shaking display.  They showed far too much flesh, especially as it was set in snow with a poor reindeer looking on in horror!  Another digression; bring back Points of View, I would so write in!

If I were a singer, I would love to have a Christmas song and a Christmas video.  Mind you, a lot of Christmas songs aren’t sung by people who can sing, so maybe I could start out on You Tube and see where it goes?!  It wouldn’t be a wishy washy sappy number, it would be more like The Darkness, Christmas Time (ie a bit rocky).  Possibly I’ve been influenced by About a Boy and that Hugh Grant’s character gets to live a very nice lifestyle thanks to royalties from his father’s Christmas hit which, obviously, gets played loads over Christmas.

I have often wondered how many southern hemisphere Christmas songs are set in the sunshine.  It seems wrong.  Christmas is all about snow, reindeer, warm clothes … and most of the videos I’ve watched are heavy on the winter imagery, though the Cheeky Girls would be far warmer in a southern hemisphere setting.

I would also like to point out that there is an abundance of non-Christmassy songs in Christmassy charts.  They bung in X Factor winner songs as they always come out for Christmas.  It’s annoying.  If I were compiling a Christmas chart, there would only be Christmas songs and I think I’d only stretch it to a top 20.  I have a few more days to enjoy the cheesy Christmas songs and videos so I shall be watching lots of music television; so good!  Even when it’s awful, which most of it is!



My completely unresearched conclusion about how people decorate their homes for Christmas (based in part on photos of people’s trees on Facebook and those I see) is that it must reflect your personality to a greater extent than I’d previously thought about.  I fear I may put a flattering spin on my own Christmas decorations and what they might mean about me, but I do find it fascinating as everyone very much has their own style.

I have a fairly small real tree (sometimes I have a bigger tree – a reflection this year on living up three flights of stairs!) and having a real tree (potted not chopped) is, for me, the most important thing about all Christmas decorating.  If I were to only have one Christmas decoration, it would be a bare pine tree, despite the fact that the carrying of it always results in rashes on my arms where the needles spike me!  Though this year, I managed to delegate the tree carrying!

I have either multi-coloured or white lights on my tree and I have a very varied selection of baubles, a lot of which have either been given to me or I’ve bought overseas.  I don’t have tinsel on my tree, though it is occasionally draped around shelves to add a bit of Christmassy sparkle!  I could easily go overboard on the fairy lights though.  This year, there is a new set on my tree (a rather unfortunate purchase as they have a Blackpool illuminations setting, as my friend N pointed out, whereby there is an almost strobe effect from frantic flashing and I don’t seem to have a non-fade setting.  I like the lights to be merely on, no fading/flickering/flashing), a few white ones over a largely empty surface, some snowflakes lights hanging down, a load of multi-coloured ones in my hallway and the odd ten-string battery pack of lights for both bedrooms.  And there might be some mistletoe hanging above a particular doorway, though I did that last year, the berries dropped and I squished them into the carpet and there are still stains on the carpet!  I might hang a bit of holly instead but the spikey leaves always annoy me.  Ho hum.

There are some people I know who decorate their trees to a colour scheme, eg silver.  The people I know who do that, their trees look lovely and far more organised than my tree, but I’ve always thought that their decoration choice has suited their personalities, or at least aspects of them.  I used to have a tradition of hand delivering cards to friends around a certain radius of where my mum lives, usually en route to mum’s for Christmas.  I absolutely loved doing that as I could easily get through more than three mince pies and mugs of tea and would get to see everyone’s decorations.  I like the tradition of visiting people over Christmas as, after all, part of the reason we put up decoration, surely, s is to have them up for friends and family to see and appreciate.

There are people who don’t decorate and those who essentially wrap the exterior and interior of their homes in lights and decorations. Neither extreme is how my home will ever be decorated but I fully appreciate that Christmas is probably the only time of year that I embrace and accept tat and “made in China” and I love seeing Christmas decorations up.



It’s day four of my advent calendar and I’m already two chocolates behind.  I fear this sums up my Christmas decorating too.  I used to get decorations up on 1st December and keep them up to the bitter end.  I am now a bit lazy and slapdash about organising myself.  However, seeing trees up in other people’s houses, I am lamenting my lazy Sunday and wishing I’d foraged in the vast damp reaches of my eaves cupboard for my box of decorations.  The tree, however, needs to be dug up from its home in my mum’s garden so it may take a while to prepare myself for that – I should manage it for Christmas!

As for my box of decorations, there is something delightfully familiar about it and all its contents.  The only thing I know for sure is that, as with every year, I will open it and wish I’d packed things a bit better in January as chaos will reign in my main decorations box.  I will also discover some decorations I forgot I had and I will gaze in awe at their loveliness.  I really am a sucker for Christmas and now I’m writing this, I just want to rummage in the box and start putting things up.

There are two things I particularly love about Christmas decorations: real Christmas trees and fairy lights.  Every year, it is a genuine struggle to take the lights down as they’re so pretty and I realise I have a bit of a penchant for mood lighting, ie everyone is obliged to sit in semi darkness with merely fairy lights on when it’s Christmas time!  I would happily have a Christmas tree in every room, except perhaps the kitchen.  It makes perfect sense to have one in the bathroom, for example, as so many bleaches and air fresheners claim to be “pine fresh”.  What better pine freshness than a small pine tree in your bathroom?

Fairy lights, to me, are best simple, none of these flashing reindeer-nosed type lights or any other such nonsense, just non-flashing multi-coloured lights, though there is a place in my Christmassy haven for white lights too.  From doing two consecutive years of five star hotel Christmas decorating in Japan (yes, yes, I did!) I finally learnt that you should always plug the lights in to check they work before putting them up.  We also had a fantastic gadget there for testing bulbs so could isolate the duff one, albeit a major labour of love.  Ah, how smug was I to review other people’s decorating skills after my puffed up Christmas decorating experience!  I thought that hours spent over night, jet lagged and confused, decorating massive hotels with the joy of Christmas would be enough to ruin my own personal Christmas decorating pleasure, but, no, it made me love it even more.

So now, here I am getting all excited about decorating my flat and I have to go to sodding work.  What’s all that about and why is “work” this year not heading into the deepest, darkest secret passages of a hotel at 10pm to magic a hotel into a state of Christmas sparkle and shimmer?  Ah, if only.  Tonight, instead, may the small-scale Christmassing of my home commence!



{25/11/2012}   Preparing for Christmas

It will be Christmas Day in exactly one month.  How did that happen?  I like to plan things in advance and hate having last minute things to do, but I do feel vaguely prepared.  But, really, why does there even need to be preparation other than presents and cards?  Somehow, there just does need to be preparation.

For example, decorations.  I love Christmassy things (in December, not October or November) and love decorating my home with a tree, fairy lights and other bits and pieces.  This year, however, I have a weekend earmarked for that.  Usually it ends up being a bit approximate and rushed.  For quite some years, a friend of mine who loves and is very good at wrapping used to come over.  I would bake mince pies and decorate and she would wrap all my presents (except her own of course, I’m not that incompetent!).  We would listen to Christmas music and it was always so much fun.  Sadly, for the past few years we haven’t been free at the same time so haven’t done it.  If I shake a leg, we might actually manage to sort a date to resurrect this Christmas tradition.

So that could possibly cover a task I hate, wrapping.  Then there is the Christmas season food.  I see it as an excuse to stockpile favourite foods, mainly cheese.  I have also been well and truly influenced by Christmas marketing so always buy nuts (they usually end up more as dusty “decorations” but, hey, Christmas is all about nuts and dried fruit too … right?!) and chocolates and Baileys and – well, all the things the shops thrust in your face as you enter a shop.  I am gullible and foolish on this score.  But it’s all part of the Christmas excess and I love it.  I also seem to always have a fridge full of meat and vegetables as if shops will be closed for a week.  They aren’t and it just makes me eat even more.  Dreadful really and this year I should economise and not gorge myself.

So really, that should be it.  But somehow it never is.  For a one-day celebration, I end up spending hours and hours thinking and planning.  And my Christmas Day this year will be my mum and I; it’s not like we have a huge family.  But then there are the pre-Christmas meet-ups with friends, a season of parties/drinks out/meals out and catching up with people you’ve shamefully barely been in touch with since the previous pre-Christmas rush.  But really that’s nice, even though it’s sad, because at least there is a time of year that we make an extra effort to see friends and family.  For so many people, that’s the best thing about Christmas, seeing and spending time with your loved ones.  And eating loads.  And having a house full of fairy lights and what would usually be dismissed as tat!

So, while over the coming month I may moan I have no money/time and I have too much to do/eat/drink, really I will love it and it will make me feel Christmassy and homey and there will be schmaltz and Polar Express on TV and I will sink into my favourite chair covered in a rug, cat on lap, Baileys to hand, cheese aplenty, mince pies and brandy butter to be warmed at a moment’s notice, TV on, foot rest in use … ah, yes, I have well and truly been brainwashed by Christmas marketing.  But I don’t care, I love Christmas and this whole month coming.



et cetera