I’ve spent quite a lot of effort over the past few weeks hunting around looking for my festive spirit, my fa-la-la and my jingle. However hard I tried though I only seemed to turn up some tatty tinsel, a squashed sprout and a mild hangover.
I put the decorations and flashing lights on. I listened to seasonal songs – and the Phineas and Ferb Christmas album, which is brilliant (thanks, Boy One), I pored over recipes and even poked around in craft fairs and markets. Nothing I did could shake off the humbugs – a slight irritation with the whole thing plus a deep-seated wish that it was January 2 and it was all done with.
Even my current inability to organise myself seemed to be conspiring with it. I’d made a note to haul the kids along to the switching on of the Christmas light. There’s a jolly carol service, a bloke in a red costume dishing out cheap sweets and tea and mince pies in the Legion after. The first O Come All Ye Faithful never fails to warm the cockles. However, I’d put it down for this week not last week, so the light is lit and the faithful been and gone – or at those who wrote it on the right page of the calendar.
Shops are the absolute worst – there’s no point in trying to find any ho ho ho there. I walked through Glasgow on Saturday seemingly against the flow of laden shoppers with gritted teeth and glazed eyes. It didn’t look like any fun at all.
In fact, I’d been congratulating myself. I have hardly any shopping to do. Boys One and Two are off to their dad’s for Christmas, leaving on the last day of term. So I’ll get their presents when they get back assuming there’s anything in the world they haven’t already been given. Boy Three is too small to care and Fabulous Family have taken a sensible vow not to bother giving presents to grown ups. That leaves a handful of kids to get pressies for.
Because the Boys are away the Panther and I aren’t bothering with the turkey business. He’s threatening to eat pot noodle. Then I agreed to go to work on Christmas day for a few hours, let’s face it there’s not much going on at home that day anyway. The Panther has to go to his coal face on Boxing Day too.
We didn’t mind. Our family gatherings at the moment have too many empty seats occupied by two many ghosts. It’s easier just to carry on as if it isn’t happening, by and large.
Then I realised. The reason I’ve got a seasonal slump is because, for various reasons, I’ve opted out and now I haven’t got a Big Day to look forward to. No oven to switch on at the crack of dawn, no sprouts, no presents, no over-excited kids and no braised cabbage to forget all about.
So, in the interests of some yule-tide oomf I’m finding some reasons to be jolly. I’ve booked the big Boys and I tickets to see John Barrowman in Aladdin on Friday, we’re off to see the nativity tomorrow, it’s the book group Christmas pot-luck supper on Thursday and there are work dos on Saturday and Tuesday.
And when my chicks are back in the nest, I might just throw a party. It’s sure to uncover my glitter and set my pudding ablaze, isn’t it?