Round here people like to put lights on their house for Christmas. You know there’s that house near you, where the people go a bit mad, and cover the whole thing in garish flashing multicoloured lights? Every year, because it’s their “thing”? Well, we more or less live in a whole town of people like that.
On our street, the people next door and the people over the road compete for the most Christmas lights every year. As a result we are trapped in the middle of the fairy light equivalent of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Here is the view out of our bedroom window this year.
And then, if you want a bit of a break from the light shining through the blinds, you can go round to the back, where this is the view.
Every year the supermarkets try to outdo each other with horrific Christmas-flavour snacks and party food. You can tell that none of it is a good idea because none of it comes back for a second year. Anyway, this is just to warn you that Tesco have taken an early lead in the horrible Christmas snack mash-up stakes.
Do you know what it isn’t any more? It isn’t April. And that’s a shame, because April is traditionally the month in which we Four Word Review the heck out of a Christmas album (see Mahalia, Barbra Streisand, Michael Bublé), and right now I’ve got another Christmas album burning a hole in my CD collection. So let’s throw tradition to the wind and have a listen to Joy: A Holiday Collection by Jewel, even though it’s May and May is nowhere near as inherently Christmassy as April.
So, it turns out that tomorrow is the first day of May, and not as I had assumed another day in April. That means that this post is being thrown online in a hurry so that it counts towards my April beans and not my May beans.
Anyway, since it’s April, and since it’s Four Word Reviews time, tradition dictates that we must listen to a Christmas album. In Aprils gone by we have heard from Mahalia and Barbra Streisand. This year we’re going for the big one: Christmas, the 2011 album by Michael Bublé. It rewrote Christmas music as we know it – a solid album of Christmas classics, reworked by the smoothest sounding chart act since Sade stopped releasing new music. Now everyone comes along and releases a few slick Christmas cover versions every year. Especially Michael Ball.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s nearly Christmas. There are very few signs to warn you of its approach – it would be handy, for example, if everything you saw and heard in the media for the last two months had involved a Christmas related song, perhaps – but I have checked and it’s coming at the end of this week.
We all know what that means. There will be trees and presents and cake, and the law will turn a blind eye to breaking-and-entering offences committed by overweight bearded pensioners in unlikely red outfits. But where does Christmas come from? You don’t know, so prepare your thanks because I’m about to tell you.
Christmas is the eldest child of Father Christmas, born in December 1955 in Lapland. Father Christmas himself is, of course, the nephew of Zeus. After spending a happy childhood in the snowy reindeer-filled northern reaches of Finland, young Christmas left home and travelled to Liverpool in the hope of landing a role in Brookside.
The lack of an authentic scouse accent prevented that dream from becoming a reality, and a few years later Christmas was working in a branch of M&S where a toy sale coincided with the accidental delivery of too many frozen turkeys. The marketing opportunity was obvious. Parents were persuaded to get their kids some knock-off toys and treat themselves to a slap-up turkey lunch (pictured) by Christmas’s dad, whose booming voice and hypnotic catchphrase “ho” entranced the crowds at the Uttoxeter department store.
Today those traditions have spread far beyond Uttoxeter and the surrounding villages of Willslock, Dagdale and Spath. Now we can all enjoy the warm glow of buying some knock-off presents for each other and eating a type of meat that, at any other time of year, we’d avoid in favour of something that didn’t have the flavour and texture of teatowels. Hurrah.
In celebration of the big day, which is definitely some time this week but I’m not 100% sure when, please enjoy this Twitter thread of dreadful Christmas dinners. Thank you.
Another year is over, Christmas has ended, and all that remains is to sweep up a large quantity of pine needles from the carpet, move an item of furniture over the conspicuous mulled wine stain in the middle of the living room, and plant a boot firmly in the arse of 2020 to make sure it departs on time and never returns.
What’s left, now the stocking has been emptied, the wrapping paper is off and the dust has settled? Let’s have a look.
Large Stanley sorting box with starter collection of screws, bolts, dry wall fixings and other DIY essentials
Bird table camera for capturing visiting wildlife in HD video without having to leave my iPhone on a windowsill and then spend 20 minutes looking for it even though it was me that put it there
Chocolates intriguingly shaped like walnuts and acorns
Odd coffee bags that make very fancy coffee by pouring hot water into a paper bag, somehow
Large bars of marzipan. I fucking love marzipan
Husky ride where I get to drive the huskies (not sure how you drive a dog but since I basically like having a go at driving anything I’m allowed to climb into I am well up for this)
Well done everyone. Now let’s buckle up for 2021. It can only be better than 2020.