Monday, 23 December 2019


Fa la-la-la-la-la-la-la!!!!
Yes, it’s the season of merriment and letting one’s hair down.

And this is what Scrooge said after turning into a raving optimist:
“I’m as light as a feather. I am as happy as an angel. I am as merry as a school-boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!”

Yet the view I’ve been getting of Christmas 2019 is very different. As I ask people what they’re doing for Christmas their response has been alarmingly consistent.
“Yes , sleeping , pizza and boxed sets”…”No parties?” 
“Good Lord no. I may not get out of pyjamas or my house all week.”

Britain is battered. Christmas should be renamed Rest-Cure-Wednesday with Santa-Pause and a succession of silent nights.

We’ve been reduced to this wobbly state by Brexit uncertainty, the election, the weather, a weary and depressing media. Emily Maitlis’ tirades, the Today programme, the Guardian (our own version of Scandi Noir – brilliant writing but suicidally depressing), all making us want to get off a world which is falling apart.

It’s so bad that instead of regarding Christmas as a week of celebration we’re hoping to be in a coma not through alcohol or drugs but through exhaustion and a sense of emptiness.

As a self-appointed apostle of hope and optimism I think we need to change that right now. Here are how we can massage our senses and exit 2019 with a bit more hope, certainty and focus:
Sight. Christmas as a time for winter, snowmen, misted breath, communal play and jollity. Henrik Avercamp the 17th century Dutch artist captures this beautifully. Who can look at this and not chuckle. Ho. Ho. Ho.

Smell. The smell of mulled wine, mince pies, stuffing and tangerines are so cheering. I hear the Burnley Working Men’s Club like ‘Benny and Hot’ – Benedictine and hot water. That smell would do it too.

Touch. Cashmere sweaters. Fur (faux now of course). Fluffy towels and hot, hot baths.

Hearing. Christmas simply has cornered all the best tunes. The best church music, the best pop songs and the very best church services. Listen to King’s College Cambridge at 3pm on Christmas Eve and melt with delight.

Taste. Christmas has historically been about refuelling to combat the cold with lots of protein, starch and sweet stuff. Christmas dinner is the most elaborate and sacred meal of the year. On average it’s a 5,200 calorie blowout. Watch Jamie Oliver’s “Countdown to Christmas” to see how delicious this all is. Yum!

Christmas (if we allow it to beguile us) is full of hope, fun and enjoyment. If you want to sleep lots too that’s fine but try sleeping after the fun and games not instead of.

Finally. No News at Ten. No newspapers. No social media. Have a news-free week and that will do you so much good.

Happy Christmas to everybody.

No comments: