Christmas is coming …

… and has been for some weeks if the shop displays are anything to go by!

Last night my wife began the process of ‘doing’ the Christmas decorations. In truth I do most of the fetching and carrying, the unpacking of the artificial Christmas trees (and their assembly), and checking that all the lights work whilst my wife arranges everything. It is a good arrangement and usually means that the whole process only takes a couple of hours. Yesterday – however – we discovered that the larger of the two trees will not stand on the table we are going to use for it … and that we either had to find/buy another table or buy another tree.

After some discussion – and a lot of Internet browsing – we decided that a new (and slightly smaller) tree was the best solution, and so – after my wife had visited the dentist and we had collected my Christmas present (a bridge camera) from the store that we nominated to ‘click and collect’ it from – we set off to buy a new Christmas tree.

It was not as easy a task as we had hoped, and after visiting three different large shops spread across South East London we finally found exactly what we were looking for … and the price had been reduced! The tree – and some additional decorations – was bought, and to celebrate my wife and I then went for lunch in a local pizza restaurant. She had a Margarita pizza (her favourite) and I had a Calzone (which is my favourite), and after lunch we went back home and I got to assemble the new Christmas tree.

There is now only one thing left to do … and that is to get rid of the larger unwanted tree. I could take it to the local recycling centre, but I suspect that if I leave it outside when the dustmen are due to collect and empty our rubbish bins, it will be re-cycled by someone.

A short GOM (Grumpy Old Man) aside:
Is it me, or is the run-up to Christmas starting even earlier these days? When I was a child, it was the arrival of Father Christmas at the local department store that signalled that the Christmas retailing season had started; now it seems to begin as soon as Halloween is over … and don’t get me started about ‘Trick or Treat’ (or as I prefer to think of it, blackmail!).

I also find the ridiculous amounts of money people spend on presents, greetings cards, decorations etc., rather worrying. I recently discussed this with a group of people who are of a similar age to myself, and all of us were able to tell stories about people who bought expensive presents for distant members of their family that they only saw at Christenings, marriages, and funerals … and then expected to receive present from those people in return.

Is this what Christmas is really about? I don’t think so … but when I voice this opinion to the general public I am usually told that I am a ‘right old Scrooge’. Well if I am Scrooge-like, then so be it; as he would have said ‘Bah! Humbug!


8 Comments on “Christmas is coming …”

  1. Perhaps it's just our generation Bob, but I do agree with all your comments. From when the first Christmas things appear in the shops to when the decorations come down in January, Christmas occupies over 25% of the year. Bring back Scrooge I say!

  2. Alan Charlesworth,

    It is good to read that I am not alone in thinking the way that I do!

    Roll on January … and then we can begin preparing for Easter!

    All the best,


  3. Pat G says:

    Surely the tree can be disassembled and turned into trees for the table?

    Christmas is the time when we hole up in our pyjamas for a week or so. The food is all pre-made, we have no schedule to keep and we just “be” together as a family.

  4. Pete. says:

    Not just your generation- I'm a miserable old man too.

    My pet hate is doing food shopping whilst being subjected to constant Christmas songs….

  5. Fitz-Badger says:

    The way I see it is Christmas (or any other holiday, season, or occasion) is what you make of it. To each their own. If people enjoy something that's fine with me. Although I do find it a bit ironic/amusing when people insist on some of the “shenanigans”, like expensive presents for everyone, and then proceed to get stressed out and make themselves miserable. But that's their choice.
    For myself, some years (like this one) I will get a tree, and every year I make and/or buy presents for loved ones and get them (the presents, not the loved ones) shipped off, buy myself a few presents, make myself a meal, and enjoy some peace, holiday music, and relaxation with books, movies, and toys. I like Pat G's comments. It's all good. 🙂

  6. Pat G,

    If only I could assemble the artificial tree so that it could be made smaller … but it comes with instructions that read like this: ‘Slide upper tree segment (Part A) in lower tree segment (Part B) ensuring that the parts are aligned so that the smaller lower branches (Parts G 1 to 8) do not impede the alignment of the larger lower branches (Parts H 1 to 8) with the flanges (Parts H1a to 8a).’ All the parts will only fit together in a particular fashion. It is an all-or-nothing tree!

    If only we could stay in bed (or at least, just in the house) for the period from the middle of November until early January! Then we could ignore the insanity that seems to be gripping people this Christmas.

    All the best,


  7. Pete,

    I am beginning to realise that there are lot of us GOMs (Grumpy Old Men) out there.

    I have a sweet tooth, but Christmas songs – old and new – are usually too syrupy for my taste. My favourite is The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl singing FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK. It is almost a GOM Christmas anthem!

    All the best,


  8. Fitz-Badger,

    I think that half of the problem is that I used to really enjoy Christmas … but that its commercialisation has taken away its essence. For Christians it is a wonderful celebration of the birth of Christ … but in the UK today the Church of England seems to have tried to become all things to all people and – as a result – somehow ‘lost’ that essence. Churches that are almost empty for the rest of the year will be crowded for the midnight service on Christmas Eve. People will sing the carols and listen to the lessons … but the message will be lost, ignored, or just not understood. It is almost as if the advertising jingle has become the product.

    I will do my best to enjoy Christmas … but hopefully not at someone else’s expense.

    All the best,


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