Guest Post: 7 Reasons That Christmas ALWAYS Gets Me in the End
It’s Saturday, and the 7 Reasons team have abandoned the sofa in order to rush, blinking out into the sunlight like pit-ponies escaping from their daily labour. But, fear not, for the sofa is in safe hands. Guest hosting this week is the lovely Liz Gregory – that’s right, her of Things to do in Manchester fame – who despite being from Manchester, isn’t going to prattle on about Coronation Street, she’s going to talk about Christmas. Now settle down, children, and she’ll begin.
Every year it’s the same. I roll my eyes at those poor souls who have done all their present shopping by August; I can tut as cynically as anyone at the Christmas songs repeated on an endless, hideous loop in certain shops from the beginning of November. I am a grown woman with a full time job, and the shameless commercial enterprise that is Christmas has no place in my busy and important lifestyle. But by December, I’m hooked, brimming with festive excitement. Again. Here’s why….
1. The weather. Surely even the most hardened and wizened of souls must admit that nothing looks more enticingly festive than a fresh coating of snow, with the power to wipe out an ugly urban landscape of wheelie bins and cat poo, and replace it with pristine perfection. And I say this despite the fact that I am seemingly the only teacher in the UK not to have received a single snow day in the recent bad weather – I have had to go to work and perform the job for which I am paid EVERY SINGLE DAY.
2. Rosy-cheeked children. No, not the bratty whiny ones running amok in the supermarket trying to grab everything in sight – they are the ones to avoid if you’re trying to be misty-eyed and non-cynical about Christmas. I mean the angelic ones who assemble at Christmas lights switch-ons, warbling traditional festive songs and obligingly going “ooohhh” when the lights are turned on.
3. The Christmas Radio Times. I take enormous comfort in the fact that even though we live in a high-tech, culturally diverse society where we celebrate individuality and cutting-edge modernity, at least fifty percent of the UK will have spent the last week leafing through the Christmas Radio Times, armed with a marker pen, drawing wonky circles around the plethora of bad television they wish to watch this Yuletide. The fact that you will only actually watch three of these programmes is entirely besides the point – the pleasure lies in the selection, not the viewing.
4. Alcohol. One of the overwhelming perks of December is that it becomes socially acceptable to consume alcohol at virtually any time of day without anyone raising their eyebrows and calling you an alky. So that means sherry at elevenses is fine, as is bucks fizz at breakfast and Amaretto Sours at lunch. I do not, of course, live like this at other times of the year.
5. Decorations. Yes, Nigella is annoying, but I do admire the fact that her house (or her studio-masquerading-as-house, one is never quite sure) appears to be permanently bedecked with fairy lights. I am not brave enough to try to convince my husband that this is acceptable all year round, which means I must make the most of the carte blanche that Christmas brings. Turn the big light off, switch the fairy lights on, and hey presto! Your house instantly looks clean and tidy in the murky pixie gloom.
6. Food. I am by nature a most abstemious person, unlikely to over-indulge in any way, but the range of tasty morsels positively flung one’s way at this time of year makes it impossible to refuse. As with the alcohol, it is de rigueur to adjust one’s notions of what acceptably constitutes a balanced meal – as long as you select items from both the savoury AND the sweet party food ranges, you should be absolutely fine.
7. Two weeks off. I enjoy my job, and by anyone’s standards, working in a college in the run up to Christmas must surely be as good a place to be as any. Giant tins of Quality Street lurk at every turn, and teaching English means that the final week offers plenty of chances to watch Wuthering Heights and eat popcorn. And yet, the prospect of two weeks off, spent lolling on the sofa, opening the odd present and reverting to a lifestyle where your mum brings you a cup of tea in bed in the morning, is surely something to be cherished.
So, if anyone fancies a mince pie or three in the semi-gloom of my Nigella kitchen I’ll see you shortly; only visitors bearing sherry will be admitted, mind.