The Girl with the Edinburgh Tattoo

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Archive for the tag “Christmas”

Happy Festive Families!

WaltonsWell – did you manage to survive the ridiculous Christmas bubble where people – through an accident of birth and not through any choice of their own – are forced together to make merry and perhaps even make conversation with other? Most people manage one day of festive torture when the pressure is put – witch-trial-like – on some poor individual to stage-manage the perfect day by providing food, presents and refereeing/counselling services and then getting tut-tutted at when she lobs the empty bottle of Bailey’s at dirty Uncle Billy’s head? I believe there are some people who attempt more than one day of this Big Brother-type set-up but then I suppose that is why we have pubs, shops and A&E!

Families have always been something that can drive you off the edge. They are endlessly fascinating though because – even if you’re lucky enough to be an orphan or choose to cut loose from your own – you can never escape. You will be subsumed into someone else’s at some point. And pick up a book or watch a film – your surrogate clan will be there. From Game of Thrones to Eastenders; from The Godfather to I Claudius; from Star Wars to Emile Zola’s Rougon-Macquart dynasty – we can’t get enough.

Personally speaking I like to keep with the fictional and give the real people a miss. As they say – ‘you can choose your friends… ‘

Never Mind The Tinsel – It’s Nearly Over!

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Merry Christmas or happy mid-winter, celebrate light over dark, Bacchanalian/Saturnalian festival time! Let’s put aside the whole business of whether you-know-who was born where-ever or when-ever there’s one thing we can be sure of in places where Christmas is celebrated – even if, as an individual, you decide to opt out – resistance is futile! Everywhere you look – it’s tinsel and yo-ho-ho, traditional Victoriana mixing with rampant consumerism, wall-to-wall Christmas on TV – there’s no way you can treat it as just another day!

Personally speaking I gave up on the whole nonsense years ago and it’s with some smugness that I observe the day’s ritual for other people – turn from that initial excitement of unwrapping the presents, getting the food started and drinking too early to – disappointment at the presents, stress that the food’s not going well and that the booze is running out to – eventually, at the end of the day – feeling the worse for wear and wanting to brain your relatives with the empty bottles! Do I miss those days? Not really!

So if you are ‘opting out’ – have a great day and here are some tips –

Don’t get intimidated by the tinsel! Avoid the telly by breaking out the box sets or look at your hard disk library with all those long films you’ve never got round to watching.

Start drinking early (I can agree with the traditionalists on that one!).

Get yourself a takeaway.

Weather permitting take a good bracing walk and greet people you meet with ‘Happy Whatever-religious-or-non-denominational-festival-you-choose’!

Feel smug that you’ve avoided the whole queasy mix of greedy consumerism and tacked-on sentimentality made to simmer in a pressure cooker of families being forced together on a day that can never live up to the hype.

Finally – and seriously – many people find themselves alone at this time of year. Or perhaps not even alone – but struggling with depression and not able to laugh at the whole tinsel farce. But to borrow the slogan – ‘Depression and loneliness are not just for Christmas’ … So if you’re thinking of helping someone who may be isolated and/or struggling at this time make it an early New Year resolution to get in touch and help out long term – it’ll do you the world of good too!

Check out the following sites if you feel you can (or need) help:

http://www.thesilverline.org.uk

http://www.samaritans.org

http://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk

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