I know, I know, it’s unlikely. But bear with me.
As the launch of the John Lewis Christmas ad signals that the full horror of the festive season is about to be unleashed on us again, I’ve been thinking about a few preparations of my own. ‘What does Christmas really mean to me?’, I thought. ‘What is this season of joy and good cheer likely to bring?’ and ‘What was it I wished I’d done last year?’
Casting my mind back to Christmases of yesteryears, I realized that basically what it means is 10 days of incapacity due to a vile illness from which I’ll only recover in time to go back to work in the new year. What it’s most likely to bring is a debilitating cold, a multi-day blinding headache and 3 weeks of a hacking cough. Or, just good, old fashioned tonsillitis.
I’m preparing accordingly:
- Bulk buying of Kleenex with balsam. Last year saw me driving round Bicester at 10pm on a freezing night, desperately trying to find somewhere, anywhere that would sell tissues. Those I eventually found were like thin cardboard. In my preternaturally weakened condition, this experience very nearly reduced me to tears.
- Soup. Screw the mince pies, the stollen and all the other rich but pointless stuff. I’m going to fill my freezer with delicious soup that I can easily heat up when I need it.
- Box sets. If I’m not mistaken, the latest season of Castle and the latest season of Penny Dreadful will both be out shortly. Last year, I was dependent on what the BBC had to offer. I watched Kung Fu Panda, for fuck’s sake. What’ll it be this year, Frozen? I can’t risk it.
- Pyjamas. As I’ll basically be living in them for the best part of 2 weeks, I should get some more. At least it’s the right time of year to be acquiring brushed cotton.
- Day Nurse and Night Nurse. Within limits, though. Unfortunately, last year I OD’d on decongestants and had to go cold turkey for a week before the next batch would start working. This was not a happy time.
- Firewood. I need something I can sit in front of while shivering uncontrollably, and a real fire will be very festive. And warm.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ll get a tree, I’ll make a Christmas cake. In fact, my sister has already asked me if I’ll lick the cake I make for her so she can get my germs and, in turn, escape the family Christmas she’s got to endure. There’ll be presents, some of them even for other people. The cats will play with baubles, I’ll start drinking snowballs and ‘Now that’s what I call Christmas’ will resound through the house. It’s just that all of that jollity has to be fitted into the two days between finishing work and collapsing.