Speedy Christmas

Is it me or does Christmas gain roller skates as you get older?  You’ve only just packed away your summer flip flops when the dreaded Morrison’s advert appears on television.  Now I love Top Gear, but I confess I find the grinning image of Richard Hammond slavering over the thought of turkey and fresh Scottish salmon puts me off my tree chocolates.

  When I was young, Christmas seemed to take an age to arrive.  The countdown began with the harvest festival, crawled on towards Halloween, through bonfire night and then, finally, the day would arrive when you were allowed to open the first advent calendar window.  The next three weeks were painfully slow, filled with Christmas play rehearsals, writing cards to friends and deciding which colour of bubble bath Mum would like this year.  The worst part were those few days after school finished, mooching around the house waiting for the hours to tick by until Santa arrived.

  Now it feels like the world’s in acceleration.  I never find time to write all my Christmas cards, I’ve failed the last 2 years to organise a Christmas meal with my friends and, one week before the big day, my gift list was looking poor.  I work in hospitality and, it seemed, my occupation in ensuring everyone elses’ Christmases were magical meant my own was seriously lacking in organisation.  However, somehow I got everything done, the gifts were wrapped and my last shift on Christmas Eve passed without drama (albeit a little bit uncomfortably as boredom forced me to eat half a tin of Cadbury’s Roses).

  The day itself was lovely.  Far too much to eat, two helpings of family movies (Santa Clause The Movie and The Incredibles) and a fierce Cranium battle.  The Boy insisted on dragging me to the Boxing Day sales (he has expensive taste in T-shirts), and was furious that, on our return, I appeared to have had considerably more bargain success than him.  He was unamused when I pointed out that new pillows counted as ‘for him’.

  Blink twice and our Hogmanay day shift arrived, in a flurry of tying balloons to barblades (balloon weight improvisation at its best in a bar), changing the decorations on the 20 restaurant Christmas trees and polishing hundreds of champagne flutes in anticipation of the evening.  A quick shower and change later and we were on our (slidey) way to a rooftop party, overlooking Edinburgh’s skyline.  I felt great pity for all those poor souls ‘enjoying’ the street party in subzero temperatures as we, having toasted the bells with Champagne, disappeared down below to continue celebrations in the warm flat.

  I don’t remember much else from that night…I blame the toxic combination of Champagne and rum.

  Moving swiftly on, and suddenly it’s mid-January.  My head’s filled with plans for the year; festival preparations, the quest for a new job, wedding gifts to buy, my impending 30th birthday (gaaaah!).  So I wonder…does it get faster as you get older?  When I’m 80 years old, will I even notice Christmas?  Or perhaps it’ll reach a peak and begin to slow down again.

  Creme Egg anyone?

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