It’s done. The working week is over and the festivities can begin to take centre stage. For the past couple of years the day job has embraced the season by allowing us the privilege of replacing our tired uniform for a festive jumper, because for some reason Christmas jumpers are no longer being worn ironically.

I don’t own a Christmas jumper, Instead I greet the regulars with the same cold glare that they know and love. I had considered adding a little tinsel or some reindeer ears to brighten my dreary attire but I really didn’t want the rumours circulating again, besides, a little of the norm goes a long way in the industry. Even a brightly coloured promotional T-Shirt can be enough to throw the regulars off balance.

“Hello, John… Yes, John… I’m aware it’s not my colour, John.” They’re all called John by the way. Every. Single. One of them.

Each day is like the scene from Jurassic park when John Hammond replicates himself during his DNA presentation. While everyone else is cooing over hatching Velociraptors, I’ve been left in my seat to struggle helplessly within my own nightmarish Groundhog day.

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All this is behind us now, though. As I write this post I have settled in to full Christmas mode. The Muppets Christmas Carol is at the ready and a fresh pair of warm Pyjamas have been thrown on straight from the airing cupboard, which is what I imagine a hug would feel like if I was open to the idea of physical contact. I know how to bring a little “street” to Christmas Eve. There has been the odd occasion that I’ve been invited out for a few beverages at my not-so-local, but I regrettably have to decline.

“Nah, you’re alright. Mum’s putting together a cheeseboard and I’ve gotta be in bed by ten or shit won’t get delivered,” I’m only kidding. I never eat cheese before bed.

Until the night of Christmas Eve, the only part of the build-up I enjoy is the wrapping of gifts. I’ve always felt that whatever the gift, it is only as good as the time it takes to open. There’s nothing more therapeutic than going lock, stock, and two rolls of Sellotape on the complete works of Westlife. Alas, those days are long behind me. This year I narrowly avoided the stereotype by completing my shopping yesterday morning, proceeding to use the afternoon to wrap with very little enthusiasm.

It’s tough being away from loved ones over the holidays. Ava has been brimming with the sort of anticipation I would usually associate with waiting to lick a spoon covered in cake batter. Not to mention it’s Hadley’s first Christmas. It will be strange to start the day without stirring my wife with gleeful whispers at 5am. I’d cry into my hot chocolate right now but I wouldn’t want to spoil the cream.

The ladies in my life shall be sorely missed, yet I know a magical day is awaiting each and every one of them, just as I wish a magical day awaits each and every one of you too. Wherever you are this year, stay safe, and a very Merry Christmas to all.

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