You can do this, Lyle. Just breathe. This too shall pass.
This year, I haven’t been as ratty as usual about the whole Festering Season thing. It still annoys me, but I’ve been able to ignore most of the retail bullshit around the season (due to not visiting shops as much, primarily) and so on, and avoided most of the raw sentimentality and commercialism that hangs around the entire process.
However, I’ve also been looking more at some of the charity stuff that’s being done – particularly for the homeless.
One of those things – and one I’ve contributed too, both this year and in previous ones – is the “Reserve A Place” scheme by Crisis. Paying £26.08 per place reserves a place for a homeless person at one of the Crisis centres over Christmas, along with support, health checks, and a bundle of other things. I’m all for that, to be honest.
The other one, only announced yesterday, is a slightly different thing, but still pretty brilliant. London’s Euston Station, which would usually be closed for Christmas Day, is instead going to become a homeless shelter for the day, filled with decorations and tables for 200 rough sleepers. I think that’s pretty fucking brilliant, to make use of that sheer space in a different but decent way.
To me, as always, I think these are the things that should be promoted, that are what the whole Festering Season should be about. I truly hope they’re both successful ventures, this year and into the future.
Last night, I went in to my local Tesco.
And was greeted with this.
No, Tesco. It’s September. So you, and your “Christmas is coming” bollocks can fuck right off.
This year has actually been vaguely decent, as it happens – with a kind-of enforced break happening due to it all being on a weekend, and thus including two days of pretty much sod-all squared.
My only outstanding job on Christmas Eve was to collect pre-ordered foodstuffs from two places, both of which had happened before 9am (as planned, even with one of them being an absolute clownshow) so I was home before most people had even got out of bed. And from there on in, I did pretty much nothing – caught up on some recorded TV, read a book (well, Kindle, but same thing) and went out for a walk round the village in the evening. And that was pretty much it.
Christmas Day involved going over to the parents – once the cats had been appeased with food and biscuits, and I’d sorted out what was being taken over there – and a decent day was had by all. Home for about midnight. And that’s about it.
Boxing Day was similar to Christmas Eve, except with even less visiting of retail emporia – I went out for two shortish walks to achieve my daily steps goal, and that was it.
So for me, Christmas has been properly quiet, and probably the laziest I’ve been all year. Which was exactly what I wanted and needed, and just how I’d planned it.
So yeah, that’ll do.
As it turns out, the entire Festering Season thing hasn’t annoyed me too much this year. Sure, it’s got the standard annoyances and irritations – the same old, same old adverts on TV that you can’t miss for a good couple of months, the inane bollocks that shops do (filling the shelves with tat, blah blah blah) and so on, but that’s all pretty much par for the course.
What’s different, and has been for the last couple of years, is that I have less and less people trying to tell me how I should feel, or how I should be, around the Festering Season. I’m rotten at doing (or feeling) what I “should” do at any given time anyway, but for some reason this Season always exacerbates that, with people telling me I “should” be more festive, or “should” decorate my office, or “should” do a Christmas meal/party with clients, and any number of other things that I should be doing, because ‘everybody else does it’.
So it turns out that really, my enjoyment (or at least tolerance) of the Festering Season is more than a little dependent on (and inversely affected by) the number of people who feel it’s their place to tell me what I should do or feel in that season.
This year, far fewer people have done it, so conversely I’m OK with the season. More or less.
This week we’ve had temperatures up around 10-13° C – which is ridiculous for mid-December – and I’ve been wandering around in shirt-sleeves. (While also wondering just how people are walking about fully clad in coat, gloves, and even furry hats. What the bollocks are they going to do when it gets cold, for fuck’s sake?)
Yesterday was my penultimate Michelin-starred restaurant visit of the year, so it’s all coasting down to the end of year. Which is no bad thing, to be honest.
I’ve got some plans and ideas for 2017, but really I think the theme is “do less”. I’ll still be doing all the stuff I’ve been doing in 2016, just less of it. That’s the idea, anyway. Whether it’ll work out that way, well, only time will tell.