We are, of course, in the grip of festive cheer/ fever in the lead-up to Christmas. While matters have been slightly compromised by Amazon informing me that an order I placed nigh on a week ago wasn’t processed last week, and now can’t get here until post the 25th.
I write this with the odd bits to pick up ahead of the big day, and will explain what this entails- present(s) for the boss, all the food for Christmas dinner and a few extra wines from our local experts in such matters.
I appreciate that this will likely sound abhorrent to those organised ‘nesters who decorated the trees they planted themselves, made Faberge eggs as stocking fillers, are uncorking their own vintage of sherry for hand-made dinner, and have built an extension on their homes to house their gifts and guests.
Frankly, though, I am bullish in comparison to prior years. While I like to think myself relatively reconstructed in that I don’t buy gifts from the garage, we of the less competent sex are not always well disposed to the intricacies of gifts and hosting perfect soirees (as if you hadn’t noticed by now).
They very fact that I now (through necessity, and having a wife) have much bought, and a tangible plan save for wandering around the stores in a daze on Christmas Eve is a minor triumph.
I have two friends from school who, over a number of years perfected their Christmas shopping technique into a military operation. It would consist of travelling into Edinburgh city centre, and starting at the West End of Princes Street late morning. A little under an hour in the first shop they came to would result in them declaring the day a resounding success, and de-camping to the pub for the rest of the day.
This year, of course, the lead-up to the Festivities has meant many a party, nativity, panto and the like. As with all in life, the calibre has varied markedly. Boy wonder made King Number One his own at the panto (I bring you the gift of Gold), and we shared a genuinely exceptional evening last week in Edinburgh’s Signet Library, with Santa, elves, presents, singing, food and general merriment.
Elsewhere, one Santa we shared a party with looked to all intents and purposes like he was fulfilling community service for the day; I know kids can be cynical and awestruck to varying degrees, but the cottonwool-esque beard, neck tattoo and old white trainers a tramp would have balked at did not represent the most compelling attempt to convince.
A trip to the a 3hour panto at the weekend posed its own challenges for Daddy, Oran, Lula and Grandma alike- save for the borderline racism throughout (apparently ‘traditional panto’ can mean the kind of gags TV stopped in the mid 1970s), the performance did, shall we say, ‘drag’ a little with incongruous tap-dance routines a particular low.
Despite such vagaries, though, the kids found much to be entertained, and Tallulah’s impromptu dancing in the aisles raised the spirits of those seated nearby.
Regardless, we are incredibly lucky to have two at ages where this time of year is a genuine joy amongst the minor stresses, and the chance to catch up with friends and family over the next week plus is a treat.
Wherever you are for Christmas, Hogmanay and beyond, I sincerely hope the period is kind to you and yours, and wish you the very best for the year ahead. May the road rise up to meet you.