So this evening I finally wrote my last Christmas card, wrapped my final present, and had a celebratory glass of port. This Christmas is vastly different to the one I had last year. Last year I was in the USA, didn't have a job or a green card, and cannot remember getting anything much. This year I am in the UK, and am spending the hols in the effusive company of my girlfriend and her boys, her dogs and, it seems, cold Arctic blasts and sleet/snow/ice/whatever else Mother Nature can throw at us.
I hadn't actually sent Christmas cards for a number of years. I used to send loads, when I was a school-kid. We'd even give cards to virtually everyone else in our class even though we sat next to each other and would see each other when school went back in January. As you get older, more and more responsible, and acquire kids and extended family, you find you have less and less free time in which to do things like sit and write cards, yet this is precisely the time when you need more time to do these things. So something's gotta give.
Now we live in a time when the need to send Yuletide messages by post has dwindled due to the rise of email and e-cards. This is exactly why I chose to sit and do a load of cards this year, to prove, mainly to myself, that it could still be done. I did a bunch. Not every card I wrote got sent, and not everyone whose address I asked for got a card, due to time constraints. But I'm happy to report that all my family got cards, and even my blogger friend Angie of Katt Food/Catladyland fame received a festive missive from me. Not only that, but she replied with a card of her own (adorned with a cat picture, of course)!
One thing I am particularly crap at is wrapping gifts. I like to do it, because I feel that a crappily wrapped present beats a store-wrapped one any day. If someone sees that you wrapped it yourself, it gives them a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that you took the time to do it yourself. That could be a lucrative business, and I'm surprised no-one has thought of it before (I'll probably be flooded with responses saying that it's already been done, I just know it), wrapping presents for those consumers that have no time to do it themselves and will gladly shell out good money to have it done and made to look crappily home-wrapped complete with gummy bits of tape at odd angles and gift tags made out of last year's Christmas cards cut out with pinking shears. If no-one's done that yet, and someone takes this idea and turns it into a cash cow, I want full credit. And 10%.
Anyway, I also took the easy route food-wise. I want to have a Christmas Day where I don't have to spend it in the kitchen the whole time. Luckily, I work in a wonderful shop called Cook where we sell ready-made home-cooked frozen meals, made using no additives and preservatives, so I used my staff discount and bought a turkey crown stuffed with pork, chestnut and sage stuffing, and a bunch of yummy side dishes, and come Saturday I'm just going to pop them in the oven, pour myself a nice single malt, and enjoy myself, and I'm going to instruct my girlfriend to do the same. If I could get everyone to eat off of paper plates (not very eco-friendly, I know) I would. Nobody needs to wash dishes on Christmas Day.
So, with Christmas Eve just a few hours away, I shall bid you all a very fond Joyeux Noel, God Jul och gott nytt år, Fröhliche Weihnachten, Feliz Navidad, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Cool Yule, y'all.