What kind of Christmas do you like?

20:40, Dec 24 2013

There are, I can imagine, three people reading this.

Not literally "three people", I hasten to add (oh, the disappointment of that!) but three "types". And all three of them wise.

First, you may be one of those souls who - because of religion or lack thereof, or familial circumstances, or personal choice - don't celebrate Christmas.

In which case today is just "Wednesday". I hope it is a particularly good Wednesday for, you with a little more sparkle than just the usual midweek. I'd like to think Festive Glee scatters itself in unintentional places, like glitter on the lapel of a tuxedo.

I get it. A dear friend of mine has spent years cheerfully avoiding Christmas, rebuffing myriad offers to share the day with friends. Instead, he stays off the grid, bar the odd response to a text to let everyone know that, yes, thank you, he is fine.

It is, for him, a solitary celebration involving his favourite foods: beer, beans and cheese. There are moments each Christmas Day when I envy him.


Which leads me to my second Wise Person.

You may be reading this in a stolen moment, somewhere between the gift-unwrapping hurricane and the hot roast lunch tsunami; or maybe you're in those hazy hours between stepping away from the luncheon table and contemplating what must be produced for the dinner no-one has room for.

Or better yet, perhaps at this point the whole day is petering out and it is all over bar the brandy, and you're wearing your new whatever-it-is and finally exhaling because Auntie Irritating has gone home, the kids are unconscious, and your partner has just given you a loving look because you've survived another one together.

Christmas Day is often at its best at that tiny moment when it crosses over from an event into a new memory. Done, dusted, photographed, ready to be recalled by its overall mood rather than in specific, real-time detail.

I can smell the brandy from here. Cheers.

Or you may be the third kind of Wise Person, lounging about in bed on Boxing Day, reading yesterday's news.

Best time to read the news, I always think. The bad news is less devastating as, clearly, the world didn't end; and the good news is just as delightful - perhaps even more so, given the joy it has spread even before it reached you.

Your fridge, my friend, is full of leftovers.

Plus you've sensibly hidden a bottle or two in the linen cupboard so you don't even have to face the supermarket if you don't want to.

The weather is always better today - perfect for the Christmas barbecue you had planned but had to abandon - and your stomach, always an unreliable witness, insists that you are absolutely starving and you must eat again despite all your declarations yesterday that this would never again be possible.

Cold ham, day-old trifle, a hair-of-the-dog glass of champagne and yesterday's newspaper. I am glad to be part of it. Happy holidays.

The Press