An early start, sniffling into my latte by fairy light. After a weekend spent re-arranging furniture and ornament, it feels like sitting in someone else’s house. A visitor in my own living room, thrilled that the rug I imagined would take over the room simply ties everything else together. Not so thrilled with the croaky voice and irritating blocked nose.
Every year at around this time, I start to feel a little frenzied. As if I have heard rumors that the Christmas Police are on the way and court papers will be landing on my doorstep if I don’t step up my festive game. And so I work myself into a spin: starting with the house – insisting that every window must be cleaned, every door handle polished. Running in and out of the house with yet another carrier bag full of little domestic somethings, gifts for all those whose stockings must be stuffed, non-perishables stashed away from the all-seeing eyes of teenage Hungry Horaces.
And then inevitably my body goes rogue. Off message. And demands better working conditions and more frequent reading breaks. Finally throwing in the lavender scented towel and declaring a strike if she who is in charge chooses not to listen, and instead keeps trying to invent Christmas, 2019 and the rest of her life in the space of six weeks.
Frenzied Alison is a sight to behold. She wears her hair on top of her head and walks around with eyeliner applied carefully to just one eye. The staff in Homesense start greeting her by her first name. The man in the new little junk shop in the village, is quite unable to hide his glee in anticipation of another spontaneous Alison purchase, for she who has got a list as long as her arm of all that must be bought throws discernment to the wind and buys random things off lovely random ladies on Facebook without measuring them first and is astonished when the rug she bought for a song turns out to be longer than the average roll of carpet.
Frenzied Alison buys Brussels sprout flavored crisps and stays up late perfecting her Christmas essential oil blend as if the arrival of Santa depends on the house smelling suitably fragranced. In November. So inevitably she catches a cold. And twists her ankle. And wakes up in the middle of the night freaking out about whether it’s worth ordering an entire turkey for just three people and if Ste will find the presence of an Elf On the Shelf spying on his every move more than a little disconcerting.
Frenzied Alison finally starts talking about herself in the third person in a clear effort to detach herself from the sheer madness of a woman who recently treated herself to a pair of glitzy trainers so seasonally snazzy her best friend stared at them in utter bewilderment and finally conured up a compliment for her jumper instead. All the better I want to tell her, to sprint around the shops like something possessed don’t you know?
Truth be told I like Frenzied Alison. She gets things done. And isn’t getting things done half the battle and a November cold merely par for the course? Isn’t getting things done exactly what is required when Christmas just will not create itself and the male species of the household wouldn’t know where to start but would sure as heck miss the frippery we bend ourselves into noodles creating on their behalf?
Isn’t it true that I write a post exactly like this one each and every November and issue it with the refrain that you must do as I say not as I do? And isn’t it also true that no matter what I say you will continue to create the production that is Christmas in your own time-honored way regardless?
So here I am, with a nose like Rudolph and the attitude of The Grinch. A delight to behold. But a delight with a living room I have whipped into shape, a stack of festive books on the coffee table for drowning in all things Christmassy and an experimental cup of non-alcoholic mulled wine in my hand…
Let the pantomime begin.