I’ve told you before about how I like Christmas time. In particular, I like that insular, ‘hibernating’, feeling that comes with it, for me at least.
My Christmas is certainly not any kind of social whirl. In fact it’s the exact opposite of that, it’s a rather lengthy ‘quiet time’ and, as it now approaches, I can’t bloody wait for it.
But the devil’s in the details, as they say. So what do I like, specifically, about Christmas time? Well, I like loads and loads of things. When you like something, you often like lots of things about it. But that’s not any kind of answer so here are three random things I like about Christmas.
First up, the Christmas double issue of The Radio Times. I have it here on my desk now, snowmen, snowdogs and Santa all bursting out at me. I’ve been getting the Radio Times ever since I was a boy in Sligo. We were geographically-lucky-enough to get British radio signals which bled over the border from Northern Ireland so the BBC has thankfully always been a part of my life. So, yeah, the double Radio Times has always been a thing for me. Oddly, though, it isn’t so much the thing itself as the promise that it makes.
I got this year’s copy during the week when it appeared on the shop shelf. There was a delight in seeing it. It’s like a good omen, a big fat invitation to a party. Don’t get me wrong, I use it a lot, every day, to see what I should watch and what I should listen to but I don’t tend to read the features or do the quizzes or anything like that. It’s like the opposite of that other magazine… I don’t get it for the articles.
Second up, the afternoon when the Christmas holiday begins. I usually finish work at lunch time on the day before Christmas Eve and I love the afternoon that ensues. There is a falling away of tension, combined with a glorious feeling of a leisurely voyage about to commence. Yum. There is no set routine for how this afternoon goes. One year I spent it wrestling with lights on a tree in the back garden, another year I watched Million Dollar Baby. It’s no particular thing, it’s just a feeling.
Finally, in this short list of random things, the Christmas Day walk. Lots of people do Christmas Day walks and I do the one they do too. The one after the Christmas dinner, with the family, to work off a bit of the grub and to better-appreciate the warmth and dryness of the house when you get back in. That’s a great walk but I don’t mean that one. I mean the second walk I do.
After Doctor Who is over and we’re into the (for me) Strictly Come Dancing dead zone of the evening, I get coated-up again and I walk out and around the town. It’s an ultra, super quiet time of the day, especially here in Ireland where everything is closed on Christmas Day, so I practically have the whole town to myself. Not that I do anything weird with it, I just look around. For an hour or so, I gently pace the deserted streets, nod to the very few people I meet, and just breathe the air. With everybody safely boxed-up in their houses, the whole town has a sort of a ‘parallel dimension’ feel to it. I feel a bit like George Bailey, striding through a world that is his own but yet somehow at the same time is not his own. The most memorable of these walks was three years ago when the whole world froze completely solid. That year, there was nobody at all to nod to. Literally, not a creature was stirring.
And when I get back to the house after this solitary Christmas walk, the place is invariably all the warmer, all the safer, all the more-welcoming.
Then I’ll have a bottle of beer or two and a couple of Cadbury's Roses.