Thursday, 24 November 2011

Brighton Of The North Turns Into Tinsel Town

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Urgh. Well, actually, no. More like: ahhh. Interestingly (and I use the word selfishly) my attitude to the early onset of tinsel-encrusted festivities appears to have changed in the short space of a year.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been one of those gurners who tut at the arrival of selection boxes in the shops in October. But maybe because this Christmas will be Toddler’s third and most meaningful to date, I’ve mellowed. In fact I’m really looking forward to it. When I say meaningful what I mean is her first Christmas she was only nine months so hadn’t a clue what was going on; when she was one she was overloaded with toys and actual had most fun with cardboard boxes.

Toddler has developed a great wee personality and will be great fun over the holidays (although my holidays are shorter than most - I’m working on Christmas Eve Saturday and on Mon 2nd and Tue 3rd Jan - cue the pitying strains of the violin) and a reminder of what really matters - presents! Er, sorry, that should have read “family“. It’ll just be the three of us on the big day and I’m looking forward to a snug time.

It’ll be difficult to avoid getting into the spirit as the Christmas lights switch on is at the end of our street this Friday. It’ll be Toddler’s first. This year we tried her on her first fireworks display and oh my it wasn’t a hit. More than just a damp squib. She was slightly terrified and we had to retreat to the safety of the car to wait for Wife-features.

I’m sure it’ll be plainer sailing at the lights switch on. The thrill of watching a balding electrical contractor in ermine and chains press a button! My favourite provostian moment (I’ve invented a word and I like it) was at Bonfire Night at Bught Park in Inverness many moons ago when the wonderfully dour Bill Smith greeted the huddled masses with an utter crowd-pleaser: “Aye, well. At least it’s not raining.”

But back to the present and presents. We live in a consumerist society and it’s pretty hard not to buy things simply to have something to give as a gift. In recent years Wife-features and I have resolved to be a bit more circumspect - this year WF has offered to make things for people and there’s already some funky chunky knitwear whizzing through the post in a jiffy bag for an old pal down south. I won’t be getting a knitted item as last year I received The Melter - officially the thickest jumper on earth with a tog rating that makes a space shuttle tile look like rice paper. I have a tendency to give secondhand books as gifts - you find some hilariously appropriate things in charity shops. It means I’m recycling, giving to a good cause and shows I’ve put some thought into who I’m giving the gift to.

Toddler loves cooking so I’m also hoping we can fob off (I mean delight) our friends with some home baking. Surely it adds to the magic of the season when you find a lump of baked purple play dough or the head of a Lego man in your scone?

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