Sunday, 27 December 2009

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Yet more ramblings about Christmas ...

Why is Christmas abbreviated to Xmas? I don't like it, Irrelevant information, but a good indication of where this blog is going. There are a lot of things I dislike about "Xmas". In no particular order; Turkey, "Only fools and horses", Christmas number ones, the word "crimbo", stilted conversation with people you haven't seen for a year, and last, but not least, Christmas shopping!

Before I start berating what should be a joyous seasonal activity, allow me to slip in the things I love. I love how "Home alone" is always on TV, I love Christmas stockings (and the allure of a hidden satsuma) and watching people don paper crowns and tell crap jokes as if it is normal.

Phew, got the love out of my system, let the rant commence... where was I? oh, yes - Xmas shopping sucks. Why do I always leave it until the last minute? why do I never dress appropriately and end up sweating and then freezing my way through a dreary day? and why can I never remember what anyone wants/likes/needs? "of course Dad wants more socks. He likes socks. Everyone needs socks." If you have to rationalise it, you have bought the wrong gift.

I am incredibly indecisive by nature. This is not a helpful attribute when it comes to mission-shopping. Yes its a mission - a full-blown operation to purchase as many things as you can. I spend hours wondering the aisles of HMV, becoming ensconced in the box-set section. Towers of DVDs coax me into pretending my brother loves "friends" ( he doesn't but oh how fickle my memory can be.) I limp aimlessly around beauty counter, choking on perfume, allowing war-painted Ladies to poison my arm with their scented sprays. I escape department stores smelling like a chemically confused version of my mother.

What would be great is if a learned from my mistakes and made the effort to forward plan, but hey its too late now. Merry Christmas , and everybody a happy new bag - I mean year!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Check out Chrissie Abbott's stuff here its pretty rad

Sunday, 13 December 2009

15 Days !

I have the sudden need to tell people that my birthday is looming near, and yes before you ask it does suck to have a birthday six days before Christmas, its cold, dark and everybody is suddenly lethargic (its as if everybody is hibernating getting ready for the post-Christmas sales.) I'm getting a year older (17) and its my last year of childhood, a very daunting thought as I quite like the idea of climbing a tree and spending the rest of my life in dungarees and over the knee socks, I will be able to drive, get a tattoo and go to an adult jail, all fun recreational activities you will agree. I don't want to grow up, I like the safety net of secondary school and not being trusted to vote. Arhhh Teenage angst

I was pleased to reach 17, if only because, when I was at primary school, I longed to own a pair of knee-high boots. Upon voicing this desire, somebody kindly informed me that knee-high boots, could ONLY be carried off from the age of 18, well 17 will have to do. It is somewhat disconcerting to think that I took fashion advice from somebody I had probably only ever seen in a standard-issue school uniform, or, at a push, a PE kit, but still, it's something to which I have stoically adhered to. The question is, now that I am the right age to rock a knee-high boot, what type of shoe do I have to look forward to other than slippers? But there are of aspects to growing old which do appeal to me. I'm simply allowing myself to be brainwashed by the consensus these days that life beyond 40 sucks. But why? Personally, I love warm jumpers in sensible colours, I cite the Queen and her love of Barbour as a style inspiration, I'd like to spend my days reading a library of books and I happen to find beachside strolls rather fulfilling. I'm particularly looking forward to being old enough to sit in a corner at Christmas time, in MY chair, making completely out-of-order comments to my family that they'll have to accept because I'm ancient and, probably, senile.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

I must have cut a lonely figure, grappling with a Christmas tree up a windy, cobbled drive way – I imagined a street brimming with happy couples and mobile-phone advert friends all with their perfect pine giants in a net.

To make matters worse, I was wearing a camel-coloured cardigan. If I'd have thought it through, I'd have donned a Barbour for this festive task. As it was, having been abandoned by my brother who had promised to help me fetch The Tree, defiance had forced me towards the rainy garage in a hurry, and the camel was baring the brunt of this rookie mistake.

It now stands embarrassed in the corner of my room, drowning in scientifically tied bows and carefully arranged fairy lights, which continue to wink at me long into the night. I realise now that I have unintentionally turned my innocent Christmas tree into a "fashion tree".

It wasn't meant to be this way. I searched high and low for multi-coloured baubles because I wanted a tacky, scrappy tree but no, impatience gripped me before I had a chance to find them. Suddenly I found myself in John Lewis's haberdashery section, picking out VV Rouleaux ribbons in various hues, as if that's what I do every year.

This, however, is the first year I've had the inclination to decorate my home in keeping with tradition. My previous miserly stance toward decoration was that everything I put up I would at some point have to take down and, frankly, that would be too much effort. I wonder when it got to that? As a child I used to virtually hyperventilate at the prospect of picking up the tree from the local garden centre with my dad and taking it home to drench it in baubles. It was beyond exciting.

And at school when we used to fashion shoddy-looking paper-chains from faded coloured sugar paper, it seemed not only to be an extremely important task, but also the highlight of the academic calendar. Will there be snow, won't there be snow? Will Father Christmas/Dad eat the mince pie we left out?

This year I'm trying to rediscover that fervour I once had for the festive period. I started by watching Home Alone – which was just as amazing as I remembered – I've bought rings made of holly, too many branches of mistletoe and I've even tried to stand around sipping mulled wine and hot cider, both of which tasted entirely unreasonable.

Maybe the issue I have is that there is only a certain amount of Christmas cheer I can muster every year, and most of that is used up on bellowing "Merry Christmas!!!" There is one saving grace, however, one activity that always fills me with cheer: shopping.

Yesterday I popped in to Bath to track down a variety of gifts for a variety of family members. I managed to buy five in total, one for mum, one for my brother, one for my dad and two for myself. Although this is an appalling result, it's a trap I always fall into.

I have an issue with purchasing things, I can't peruse items for other people without spying something for myself. Often I'll try and safeguard myself from this fact by sticking solely to shops or departments I know I have no interest in: kitchenware, menswear, gardening tools.

Even then though, even when I'm knee-deep in other people's interests, I am quite capable of convincing myself I need a hand trowel. This has to stop. Perhaps I'll do the rest of my Christmas shopping over the internet because then if I can't actually pick the items up and bond with them, I won't want them. First stop:

Monday, 7 December 2009

Friday, 4 December 2009