In exactly one month’s time it shall be Christmas Eve night and I shall be stressing over how Noodles and Boo won’t go to sleep because they’re too excited, how I’ve forgotten something vital for the next couple of days and the shops are all shut or how I wish I’d wrapped my gifts as I’d bought them rather than leaving it til the last minute and risking running out of wrapping paper. I’ll be upset that ‘Santa’ in our house will be behind the Santa we’ll have tracked all day online. I’ll be grouchy and feeling put-upon, but at the same time it’s part of the Christmas ritual. And besides, there will be Baileys.
But anyway, one month to go. Surely it’s ok to start feeling that warm festive tingle, the anticipation of all that’s to come? The diary’s filling up, the TV ads have had me blubbing at the sheer sentimentality and I’ve got the shopping in hand. (‘Don’t go overboard,’ Teflon Man says every year. Pah to that! Although it’s mostly his excuse to buy crap presents, so I guess we all have our priorities.) It’s all kicking off and I love Christmas. I should be gagging to don a Christmas jumper and get all merry. (Yep, more Baileys!)
Except I’ve sort of just felt flat. Despite the omnipresence of Jamie’n’Jools/Nigella/Kirstie Allsopp (a bloody annoying British Holy Trinity of Martha Stewart-ness) and their perfect Christmas suggestions.
Despite the town’s Christmas lights being switched on and caroles being played by a brass band and Boo meeting ‘Elsa’ and being all thrilled.
Despite normal stuff being jettisoned from shop shelves in favour of gift sets for those in need of a desperate present. Despite having made office party menu choices and Secret Santa selection. Despite panto tickets having been pinned to the pin board.
Despite having bought my Christmas dress.
Despite all of this I’ve just felt a bit Bah, Humbug.
But surely the weekend was to change that. A necessary trip to London for Boo on Saturday gave us the opportunity to see the Christmas lights on Regent Street and Oxford Street and then Grandy came up with the suggestion of visiting Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. What could get me to feel some festive spirit more than a Winter Wonderland?
Except, it turns out that London on a Saturday afternoon in the run-up to Christmas is nothing like a scene from Love Actually.
No, it’s more like a mosh pit!
At the Winter Wonderland:
It’s amazing how nimbly a toddler can dart through a crowd too! A septuagenarian with a pushchair, not so much. And because Grandy is a somewhat-deaf septuagenarian it meant we lost him for a couple of hours. I was literally contemplating going home without him and hoping he’d eventually think to check his text messages. With the focus on not also losing smaller clan members and balking at the daylight robbery in operation (£8 for Boo and I to go in the funhouse, £5 per go on the sideshow games – I wished I’d had Gru’s firepower to win a fluffy unicorn!) I wasn’t feeling the festive warm-and-fuzzies.
Oh, and a festive bus ride along Oxford Street isn’t as wonderful as it looks in the John Lewis advert.
No lovelorn penguins for me, just a woman having a go at me for not being able to put Noodles’ buggy in the allocated pushchair area what with it being rammed with shoppers and all. (‘You should get them to move for the health and safety of the children.’ But, then, she deemed it better for her 4-year-old daughter to swing from the bannister of the staircase rather than having her sit on a step on the staircase like I suggested. You know when you want to tell someone to take their head out of their arse? Well, that. And I’m not sure that’s the true spirit of Christmas.)
But then, in the early hours of this morning I found myself awake and with a definite Christmas feeling. But not one induced by mulled wine and pine needles, nor familial joviality and over-spending. No, I awoke with a sore throat. The same sore throat feeling I’d have every Christmas a child! I felt as though I was 6 again and waiting in the dark for the present-rustling of Santa.
So now I’m ready to launch myself at the season! Get me a set of fairy lights and a jumper with a Christmas pudding on it and I’m there. Just excuse the husky voice and irritating cough. Maybe a glass of Baileys will soothe it.
Now, that’s definitely my idea of Christmas spirit!