Christmas eh? Aren’t you the least bit tired of it yet?

This year, for me at least, the Christmas build up has been one of abject resentment.

“Oh fuck it’s Christmas soon”
“Decorations? Already?”
“I’ll wait until the January Sales”
“If I hear that fucking ‘Stop the Cavalry’ once more I’ll kill someone
“Big Issue….Help the homeless”


They are examples of what I have heard around me. In the street, on the bus, in the shops, work and college. Hell, if it wasn’t for the 2 week holiday everyone seems to get I think people probably would have given up on the fucking thing already. But they haven’t. Christmas is still extant.

Usually, for me, the run up to Christmas involves – Shopping, Going to Blackheath, Singing Carols, Bedecking the gaff with cheap tinsel and baubles, my birthday, Works Christmas nights/afternoons out and the inevitable crunch of going to the parents for a few days to be fed cold turkey and see people I don’t see at any other time of year (either out of choice or by design).

This year I’m breaking from tradition. First and foremost I won’t be going to Blackheath this year. Why? Well I’ve got far too many essays I need to write and I also have an issue of lack of funds. Shame really, because I really like seeing Tim and the guys. I’ll miss the two big noshes, the after service “warmed” wine and mince pies and the leisurely drive to London. But hopefully it’s only for a year and since 1995 I’ve only really missed one service. So I’m not going to feel too bad about it.

Secondly, the shopping side I’ve managed to get out of the way. Christmas Shopping sucks at any time of year. What do you get for people who are in a situation where they can buy whatever they want anyway that they won’t take back to the shop for a refund? This year I was fortunate to be accosted in Huddersfield by a delightful French (possibly Belgian) sales person who did such a splendid sales pitch I couldn’t resist buying Mrs Gnomepants’ Christmas presents. Indeed, Mrs Gnomepants has done a splendid money managing job this year by keeping the Christmas present budget to a bare minimum. No, we haven’t got everybody pencil holders made out of loo roll innards, we’ve got quality functional gifts. So the shopping side is done. Short of a pair of socks here and there.

Thirdly, the decorating of the house. Mrs Gnomepants, having watched far too many daytime design and style programmes, says we will opt for a less garish, minimalistic Christmas decoration scheme than of previous years. Gone is the big-tree-that-the-cats-attack. Gone are the tacky lights and strings of bunting. This year we are having a small shrub or potted tree (about 3-4 ft high) with a light dressing of ribbons. Of course the usual OTT treatment of the christmas cards is still undebated but no doubt they’ll feature.

Fourthly, the birthday. This year I’m 34. I feel about 28 mentally and 69 physically. I suppose 34 is a happy medium. In days past I would have held lavish evenings in the pub with my chums, maybe a meal with Mrs Gnomepants or the family. This year? Well this year I’m thinking of having some of my new (not NEW) college (as in Uni) chums round for a bite to eat and maybe some revellry in the Three Horse Shoes. However, with it being a weekday night and there is an “exam” on the Tuesday I’m a bit doubtful I’d be able to pull it off. Maybe I’ll just have to do something on the weekend. Personally I think I’ve got to that age now where birthdays don’t really matter. Aside from the cards and the occasional £10 note hidden inside that’s all really I have to look forward to birthday wise.

Fifthly, the works nights out. Again I’m in the predicament where I am in a new job. NEW College no doubt will be doing the usual after term binge at the Liquorice Bush in Pontefract so depending on what I’m expected to do at the Uni I’ll be bobbing along to that. I’ve no idea what is planned for the UCB. Either as a member of staff or as a student. No doubt it will involve drinks in the Walkabout or some other god awful place in Barnsley and, seeing as my budget is fixed at £30 for all Decemberish revellry, no doubt I’ll probably only go for one pint. Besides which I was hoping to spend the bulk of that £30 on a prechristmas/post birthday beverage with a poof I know that lives in Wakefield.

Finally, the visit to the parents. This year, it has been decided, we will be doing the in-laws. Notably the sister-in-laws. Mainly because hers is the larger house but also because young Meredith will be there doing what 2 year olds do at Christmas (slobber, poo, wee, make things sticky, whinge a lot). My parents will have to wait until Boxing Day. But you see it’s not just the parents is it? Really, last years disaster meant I didn’t get to see everybody I wanted to see. This year, I’m hoping with a bit of forward planning, I’ll be able to meet up with those scousers I have and have not seen this year (billzy, Nick, Nickey, anyone from CSD that fancies it, jimrock et al). But no doubt, even with all the best intentions in the world and going on previous years, any Scouse Christmas get togethers will be fraught with difficulty and none attendance.

Again, I’d rather bypass Christmas and go straight to New Year for the next three years, but I know that although miserable and curmudgeonly about it now, by the end of the season I’ll be thinking fond things again and saddened by the rapid passing of yet another year. As for the new year. Well things are afoot. Indeed, I imagine the next months postings will feature some retrospectives and reflections on the year since August 2006. So stay tuned. As they say in the orchestra.

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