You can start threatening the children that Santa won’t visit
When we hear Slade on the radio
The last pork pie has been delivered where it’s supposed to be
When I take a bite out of a Terry’s chocolate orange
I’ve had a mince pie
When a brass band plays Christmas Carols
When Frank the huge inflatable penguin is on the front lawn and home mad cookies are in the oven
When I change the font on my website to “snow caps”
When I feel obligated to be nice to people I don’t like
When we attend Mass on Christmas Eve
When we decorate the tree on Christmas Eve and drink Champagne
When the Coke truck is in full swing
Scrooged is on TV and I have a glass of Sheridans
When I see the nativity play at school
When I hear Christmas songs on the radio
These are the responses I got on Twitter this morning. Yet not one of those is my indicator that it is Christmas. What is it for me?
It is when I see something that has been around 1923. And in actual fact is around all year. It isn’t just for Christmas (and no it is not an abandoned puppy either). I shun it for the rest of the year though. I look at it scathingly and dismiss it as frivolous.
Yet when it appears in mid-December I, along with over a million other people, flock to grab it. Handing over £2.50 and dashing home to be the first to cradle it in my arms.
For this to me signifies Christmas like no other event in December:
“The legendary Christmas double issue”
Oh yeah baby. Ten pages of listings for EVERY DAY between 17th and 30th December.
I sit, with a highlighter, and the Sky+ remote going through each day, planning what I think we should all watch, ie Great Expectations (Tuesday 27th to Thursday 29th 9pm, BBC1). To things I will watch whilst Mr B is busy or doesn’t mind that it is on, ie something he is not a fan of but happy to have as moving wallpaper, such as Downton Abbey (Christmas Day 9pm ITV). To those awful guilty secrets that Sky+ will record, that will be watched in secret, and deleted immediately, such as The Only Way is Essex vs Benidorm on All Star Family Fortunes (Christmas Day, 7pm ITV).
When I did a paper round as a child I used to hate this damn magazine when it came out. It wasn’t as “bumper” back then because we only had three channels (yes three. Did you know that, kids. Three channels and they went off at midnight) and in fact the Radio Times only listed BBC1 and BBC2. But households would get both the Radio Times AND the TV Times, who until 1982 only listed ITV until Channel 4 came along. It more than doubled the weight of my bag on a Thursday and I dreaded it.
Now though, I look forward to it. It is my Coke truck advert.
And whilst you are reading this I will be deciding which colour highlighter to use for each of the above categories.
Image at the top, courtesy of Shutterstock