It is the time of year when Christmas is well and truly over. The bank holidays are gone until Easter, shops have returned to their normal shopping hours and now we have to cut back on the surfeit of food and booze we consumed during the break. As we seem to have more booze now than we started with and several boxes of cream crackers to go with the excess cheese we bought, nothing in the consumption department has changed just yet.
If I had my way, I would take down our decorations now, this minute, and I’d put them straight into the black bin, never to be displayed again. But in my world, we do not have less decorations than usual, we have more. We even have two trees, one of which sits miserably (in my opinion) on the side of the drive in the traditional January drizzle. I am told that we must wait until the 12th day of Christmas. Why? I don’t feel remotely “Christmasy” anymore.
My grandparents got this stuff pretty right. I don’t recall them decorating the back room where their entire lives were played out and back in the 1960s, the only cards you got were from immediate family and, perhaps, neighbours. As my granddad didn’t like anyone who lived next door, or even beyond next door, there were not many cards to display and soon they would be used as firelighters. I am afraid I have inherited at least part of his grumpiness, except the bit about not liking the neighbours. I sent a grand total of one card this year, making a modest donation to a favourite charity instead of sending many more. It has nothing to do with my atheism, or any particular dislike of the commercialisation of Christmas; it’s just that I honestly could not be bothered. This is not to say that I don’t love each and every one of you, more that I love each and every day of the year and not just on one of them.
With the New Year being exactly the same as the old one (as I predicted with chilling accuracy), I would just like to get back to complete normality.
Now it was lovely, perfect in fact, to spend the festive period with the ones I loved. It was great to exchange presents with the family and the memories will last forever, or next Christmas, whichever comes first. It’s just everything that follows. Happily, we do not have a turkey for Christmas otherwise we would have spent the last week devouring everything from turkey curry to turkey curry right through to turkey curry, but I am still working my way through mountains of walnuts and brazil nuts and we haven’t even got started on the port yet.
I spent the year losing a stone and I fear that I may well spend much of 2016 doing the same thing. That really gets to me. I really enjoy eating things that are fattening, especially things like cheese, which I studiously avoid in normal times, but having avoided them pretty well all year, I am racked with guilt at having caved in so abysmally for one week of the year. And I consumed most of these fattening foods not because I was hungry but because they were there. I am now at the stage where I think, “enough is enough” and I would merrily throw away everything else that I would not normally eat. I do not care that I would be accused of “wasting perfectly good food” because, after all, I was not the one who bought it in the first place.
From Monday, it’s back to thins, fruit and things containing as little sugar and fat as possible. Corned beef, haslet, cheese, olives, chocolate, nuts and all the massive calorie providers – it’s goodbye until next Christmas. Part of me will miss you all but I have just about had enough excess for now.