Christmas is coming, and by the look of Auckland's inexplicably-retained leering Santa, beckoning children with his creepy mechanical finger, its going to be a weird one. He's making a list and he's checking it twice. Pray your kids are not on it.
Pervy Saint Nicks aside, now is the time to convey present wishes and gift expectations. Now, more than ever, “nothing” is a dangerous answer to, “What would you like for Christmas?” Men in particular do not understand that 'nothing' actually means 'something utterly fabulous, directly representative of your love for me.' Be careful what you wish for – you just might get it and then there goes your Ho Ho Ho and it won't be the halls that get decked.
All I want for Christmas is a new face, which might be a tad beyond Santa's abilities. A million elves couldn't undo the ravages of social smoking, red wine and not taking your make up off before bed. Renee Zellweger has a new face, and good on her. While she may never work again, having gone the way of Dirty Dancing's Jennifer Gray by messing with her brand, she's happy and that's all that matters. Of course, Renee needn't have resorted to the scalpel, she could have just stopped wearing her glasses. Nothing is nicer or more soothing to the aging than a lovely pink blur, although it does have a rather negative effect upon one's driving.
However, back to Christmas, a very stressful time of year. For many the holiday is a mass of complex social interactions with family or relatives, some of whom you'd rather not see. Some people rate Christmas worse than divorce or being burgled. Having experienced both I can say with confidence, it is.
The first half of December is when the yuletide season is at its most enjoyable. Different rules apply. “Five a day” becomes your mince pie limit and wine imbibed in this period cannot be counted towards weekly alcohol intake because it is 'festive'. For these two weeks, nothing is jollier than watching the middle classes cramming bikes and rice cookers into their cry-for-help tidy SUVs while simultaneously tying a tree to the roof rack. 24 hours later, they've got the decorations up, presents wrapped and are nervously staring at the pine, clutching a Dyson handheld in case it drops a needle. Well, who's laughing now? Probably not them, they seem pretty humorless.
The member of the family at whose house the meal will take place invariably sets the tone. I have been banned from hosting Christmas ever since the infamous 'vanishing tinsel' incident of 2006. Evidencing a desperate need for things to be over, as soon as the presents were unwrapped, while everyone was out on the deck having a wee post-prandial (feeling it had served its purpose), I took down the Christmas tree; stuffing it, wrapping paper, ribbons and all associated joy into a rubbish bag and chucking the lot out by the kerb.
But fear not. Tidings of gladness do I bring the chronically disorganised. The dash to the finish you must now undertake may seem to be like doing the hurdles wearing flippers, but just like Chris Addison of The Guardian, I am an old hand at this kind of seasonal arsewittery. “Eco-consciousness is highly fashionable and a brilliant excuse for not worrying when there are no more trees to be had” says Chris. A broom, some coat hangers and a length of garden hose will do just as well. “Get the kids to make toilet paper decorations (try to avoid them weeping with disappointment directly onto the paper, as soggy garlands will spoil the overall look).” And when it comes to food, anyone who whinges about the absence of edibles can legitimately be accused of lacking Christmas cheer. Actually, try to get someone to complain. Your counter-attack will create a nice smokescreen for your monumental uselessness. Incidentally, this is how government works.
As your world crumbles like those disastrous reindeer biscuits you tried to make last year, that familiar, esophagus-tightening fear will descend: the inevitable, immutable annual sensation that Christmas is upon you and you haven't done a bloody thing. Only one thing for it, a poem. Of me own.
'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
And the economist had ingested enough alcohol to shopping bear.
Heading for the Warehouse at 5 minutes to closing,
He bought gifts for everyone,