Saturday, 22 November 2014

Ho Ho Ho

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?  ‘Oh yes,’ I hear you say, ‘I did it weeks ago and it’s all wrapped up and stowed safely away.’  Well three cheers for you!  Other folk, like me, have only just got off the starting block.  I know this because Bluewater, my local shopping ground, is full of similar people all adopting the same pose.  Head down, tail up, barging their way through the precinct and shopping aisles, arms slowly amassing shopping bag after shopping bag of gifts, before struggling to the car park with arms like stretched spaghetti.
          Do you know, this time of year is probably my most favourite part of the whole Christmas shebang.  The actual anticipation of it all.  Because let’s face it, the reality is usually totally different.  Every year I hope for a white Christmas, but the reality is lots of cold rain.  Every year I look for red-breasted robins in hedgerows hung with frosted berries.  Instead I see magpies with beady eyes hopping around wet tree trunks.
          I love the approach to Bluewater with its umpteen roundabouts covered in giant reindeer lit up with fairy lights, and all the lavish decorations twinkling along the walkways.  Marks and Spencer is a particular favourite right now with its displays of festive bedding and holly covered cushions.  But would I buy any of it?  No, not really.  It would look a bit daft having sleighs all over your duvet come June.
          ‘Do you still want a Christmas stocking?’ I asked my son.  After all, he’s twenty-one.
          ‘Most definitely!’ he looked horrified at the thought of Father Christmas not paying a visit.
          ‘What sort of stocking prezzies do you want?’ I asked.
          He looked thoughtful for a moment.  ‘Actually, there’s nothing I really want.’
          ‘So what’s the point of having a stocking?’
          ‘You could always fill it with money,’ he beamed.  ‘Pound coins or notes.  I’m not fussy.’
          Ha ha.
          I asked my daughter if she wanted a stocking too.
          ‘Oh yes,’ she assured, ‘and I have a list as long as my arm if you’re looking for ideas.’
          ‘Excellent,’ I said, taking the list.  I was expecting to see slipper socks, new undies, smellies, and the odd bit of make-up.  ‘Ah.  Pandora charms.  Diamond earrings.  A Ted Baker purse.  The entire contents of House of Fraser’s Mac make-up counter.’
          ‘What do you want for Christmas?’ Mr V asked me.
          ‘Do you know, I haven’t the faintest idea.  There’s nothing I really need or want.  What about you?’
          My husband thought.  ‘Nope, can’t think of a single thing.’
          So we’ve decided to put an equal amount of money into the kitty and have a long weekend away somewhere nice as a Christmas present to ourselves.
          Meanwhile I’ve started writing out the Christmas cards.  This year’s selection depicts various snowy woodland scenes smothered in silver glitter.  Every year I tell myself not to buy cards covered in glitter because the wretched stuff gets everywhere.  Sadly I only remember this when I’m half way through and my entire desk is covered in gritty twinkles and looks like something out of a craft studio.  By the end of the task the cat is also covered in glitter because she insists on sitting on the desk amongst the cards patting my scribbling pen as I write.
          This year we are going to my sister’s for Christmas dinner.  I’m really looking forward to it.  Like me, she’s an ‘awkward’ vegetarian with dietary issues, but unlike me she’s a fabulous cook.  So there will be nut roasts and gluten-free this and dairy-free that with an adapted Christmas pudding which was my beloved grandmother’s recipe.  The meat eaters will tuck into a turkey that was brought up to roam free, ate an organic diet and, as my brother-in-law likes to point out, was sung to when its time was up.  Which reminds me.
          What do you get if you eat Christmas decorations?  Tinsellitis…


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