Blimey, it’s nearly December! Christmas cheer, or stress, is breathing down our necks. I’ve already had invites – and arguments – over festive party dates.
Nowadays, I’m content to meet up with a few former colleagues and friends for a mid-week afternoon in the pub, a week before the big day.
My idea of an evening ‘do’ would start at around 5pm and end a couple of hours later, leaving time for a TV dinner and snooze at home before retiring to bed. The notion of meeting at eight and going on till late just makes me shudder – with all those loud, boozy crowds filling the bar!
The first Christmas parties of my ‘adult’ life came in mid-teens, when working within a big, open-plan office at Manchester Town Hall. These ‘do’s’ were always disastrous but us revellers never learned. However, after widespread staff drunkenness and unseemly liaisons in stock rooms, council chiefs finally banned our annual knees-ups.
Later, when employed on newspapers around the country, I often worked up to the last minute before rushing about stores buying late presents - then heading off to railway stations, or motorways, to reach family festivities. It was the worst time of year to travel and the anxious, over-crowded experience very exhausting.
However, I still enjoy a reunion - preferably somewhere handy, quiet and conducive to conversation, like a fireside room in an old pub.
Such cosy get-togethers put life – both our present and the past – into perspective. They round off our experience of others, while inspiring good fellowship. These are also celebrations of our many blessings, so often taken for granted.
With all the care that is lavished upon Christmas, then the hope and energy invested into New Year, this time brings a warmth we need during the coldest season of the year.
So, let’s enjoy it all!
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