December 23 - Scrooge

And I mean that about Christmas. It’s all a load of nonsense. A marketing ploy by the retailers to get folk to part with cash they haven’t got thus putting them in debt. Having said that, I’m not being a total Scrooge, myself. I do buy presents, but the kids get those of a modest price. Teach them the values of life – right? And for something which is supposed to be a season of goodwill, I see very little of that. People fighting over the must have toys and arguing in the Frozen Foods at Morrisons. I even saw a group of Santa Claus’ engaged in fisticuffs outside a wine bar in the town centre the other day. And for what? No sooner have you wrapped the last present and hid them up the loft, Christmas Day is upon us, then Boxing Day and it’s all over. Months to get ready and the bugger’s over in two shakes of an old man’s beard. I mean, you can spend longer in the queue at Toys Я Us than you can cooking your turkey dinner.

And that’s another thing – Father Christmas. We spend all year educating our children not to talk to strangers and if a funny old man offers them sweets, they are to run and tell an adult. However, on Christmas Eve while Dad is covering himself in sticky tape and Mum’s got her head stuck in the turkey, your kids are upstairs, wide awake and excited. So what do you do? You go and tell them a lie.

‘Son, you know what we always say about not talking to strange people? Well, ignore it tonight. You see, a creepy old man with a beard and wearing a red suit is going to come into your bedroom, mess around, then leave again. If you hear him, don’t make a sound!

December 23 - Santa Claus Conqers the Martians

I don’t know about you, but he scares the shit out of me.

We’re still here.

December 23 - The End of the World

The Mayans got it wrong. As if it was ever going to happen. A lot of fuss about nothing. All those people talking about the end of the world like there was no tomorrow.

But back to Christmas presents.

Now what should I get for folk? A few weeks ago I told of the hideous cuckoo clock in the style of Queen Nefertiti. In fact, it wasn’t a cuckoo clock, it was a Queen Nefertiti clock. This week I had a look on the company website of the firm which sold the Queen Nefertiti clock, just to see if there was anything else which was as hideous and boy, I was not disappointed.

For £149.95 plus £9.99 postage, they are selling a 16” hand-crafted porcelain sculpture of Pippa Middleton

December 23 - Pippa Middleton Statue

That’s right. For an extortionate fee, you too can own a figurine of somebody who isn’t going to be the next Queen of England.

Pippa Middleton … Seriously?

Okay, if I don’t want to spend that much, I could look for a more budget buy.

I saw this in my local supermarket. A three DVD collection of Lance Armstrong’s career.

December 23 - Lance Armstong

That’s three DVDs for £5. Dear me, there’s nothing like a bit of drug taking and disgrace to get you sent to the bargain bin. Lance Armstrong for Christmas? I’d prefer to have Stretch Armstrong.

But talking of cheap and nasty Christmas presents …

The thing I am most grateful for at Christmas time, these days is that I am no longer related or obliged to have any contact with my ex in-laws. For the first ten years of married life, I only received one present off them. Having said that, even though I didn’t apply the same principles, I did try to get even. You see one year I was tasked with the duty of buying the pressies and I made sure I got the in-laws the cheapest, tackiest load of rubbish I could possibly have found. Hideous picture frames, hair curlers which would rip your hair to shreds … You name it, I got it. The thing is, it backfired. The in-laws had no taste. They loved the gifts.

After a while I stopped getting presents for them. Seeing as one half of them stole off me and other half knew about it, I used to think why bother? Just invite them round for Christmas dinner and they’d help themselves.

Christmas is two days away and I am worried about my neighbours friends.

Yes, no Christmas roast would be complete without the Stroods.

This year is the 16th Christmas in my house and without fail in the run-up, I get a wrongly delivered card to Mr & Mrs E Strood. The Stroods live one number higher than myself and are about ten metres down on the other side the road. The card is sent to them from friends, Betty and Bert, but it is always addressed incorrectly to my house. As a result, every year I mount a clandestine operation in the middle of the night to deliver it to the correct address, by hand.


The view from my window with the Stroods house down the road on the right behind the hedge.

Why don’t I just tell the Stroods and hand it personally? Come on, I’m British. We only speak to our neighbours after spending twenty years nodding at one-another. The one time we communicate with the people around us is the time they move house. Then, and only then will we smile, go over to these total strangers and say, ‘Well, I see you’re moving, then.’

Year after year I mount my mission. One occasion I made a mess of it, set off two security lights, knocked over a wheelie bin and got chased by a dog, ending up in a hedge. Two years ago was really difficult. It had snowed. I left tracks everywhere and had to go out with a brush to sweep them away.

I was expecting to do this again but however, December 23 – No card.

Oh no! I’m worried about Betty and Bert. I hope nothing’s happened to them. I kind of got used to the card turning up. I’m going to be really disappointed if after all these years, the Stroods have finally told them the correct address.

Just done all my shopping and was asked that dreaded question.

‘Are you all ready for Christmas?’

Arrrggghh! Ready for what? I mean, it’s not like the world is going to end, that was last week.

Bloody Christmas. Scrooge got it right. Lot of fuss about nothing. Still, it is a time of joy and many folk are happy this time of year.

Yes … the retailers.

December 23 - Bah Humbug!