Celebrities you've never heard of, local radio and a national outpouring of love towards Noddy Holder. Christmas light switch-ons are in full swing and I’m already feeling grumpy about additional queues at the supermarket stores.
I’m going to say it, I hate Christmas. I know a lot of you get excited about the prospect of children arguing, disappointing roasts and the difficult question of whether ‘granny’ is sleeping off the meal or has actually died, but for me it’s just a time for hiding.
I’m not alone of course (well sometimes I am but I actually like that) as it seems the Odeon and Vue cinema chains are with me on this one, banning as they have the latest commercial from the Church. Force Christianity down a cinema going publics throat at Christmas? Oh no, we like Christmas but not if you're going to start mentioning Jesus and all that. Maybe I’ll just spend Christmas in the cinema where I’m safe from such propaganda. At least you get popcorn.
Staring at my undecorated flat I start you wonder when I became so adverse to Christmas? Am I being all moralistic about what Christmas should mean or do I just hate the idea of everyone else having fun? I’m the man that bursts balloons, baulks at baubles and brings a bottle of Shloer to the party.
No more. I must have fun, I must start enjoying this before I become one of those strange, hairy men standing outside the shop with an ‘The End Is Nigh’ sign. Mind you, if the end really was ‘nigh’ I probably wouldn't spend my time painting a sign and making sure everyone knew about it. I’d have a cup of tea at least.
I had considered volunteering as a helper for the Christmas meal for the homeless like I used to many years ago. The first time I went I got a little confused about the dress code, I mean you don’t want to show off your new winter knit to a multitude of folk who sleep outside so I wore what I considered to be ‘casual’ wear.
As I stepped into the church I was greeted by one of the organisers who started to lead me through to one of the tables.
‘I’m here a a volunteer to help’ I said quietly through my unshaven whiskers.
‘Oh!’ she replied with a look of disbelief, ‘well of course you can help as well.’
As I sat down I could see her talking to another organise and it was clear she hadn’t believed my ‘volunteer’ status but assumed I was homeless but too proud to say. In the end I relented, had my dinner, won a game of bingo and took a new jumper home with me.
I take a look at the website where you can volunteer your services but it seems they are over-subscribed this year with help. If you are going to be alone at Christmas though you can still come down to help. I’m not going through that again even if I am in need of a new knit.
The last two Christmas Days don’t give me much to offer in way of finding the whole fun side of the festive season.
Two years ago I spent it alone sitting on the toilet with diarrhoea whilst simultaneously vomiting into my sink. At least I didn’t put on weight.
Last year I got a little further by managing to at least cook a Christmas dinner but the night before and throughout the day I was being sick again. I didn’t get to eat a thing.
I’m slightly concerned that should the same vomiting bug hit me again this year it will have become a ‘tradition’. Each year people will say ‘oh you can’t pull your cracker until Mark’s vomited’. They’ll have little toilet shaped baubles on the tree, porridge will be provided as a desert to represent the suffering I go through to save mankind. You’ll get your kids to put out the Christmas bucket and see if Santa has left a spurs in the morning. I can’t let that happen.
So what do I do? How can I find this joy that seems to have left me at childhood? How do I embrace the bright lights?
I could get inappropriately drunk and photocopy my behind? The trouble with being retired is that your office party consists of only one invite. There is a slight chance of sexual shenanigans taking place but i’d probably just fall asleep on myself.
Maybe I should go and see Santa and let him know what I really want for Christmas? Sit on his knee, smile into those twinkling eyes and give him a little tug on his long, white whiskers. The trouble is I don’t even know what I would wish for. At least I’ve been a good boy this year so I still have the chance of some lego.
The problem is I’m too remote from people, I’ve become a hermit. I just need to see those I love and share in the silliness of the season. Laugh, throw a snowball, sing carols and drink spiced cider.
So if you see me this Christmas make sure you make me smile and shout ‘It’s Chriiiissssttmmaaaaaaaas!!’
As a small Christmas gift to my handful of readers I thought I would share some of my new found spirit. If you’ve read my book you’ll know I try to play the guitar and a few other instruments all with the ability of a small, partially deaf, child. I year or two ago I recorded a small tribute to the Christmas tunes we all really used to enjoy when we were young.
So sit back, get a glass of eggnog and enjoy a slightly disconcerting version of ‘Little Donkey’ by me. x