From my September birthday onwards I wait for Christmas with bated breath and then it comes around, too quickly, in a prosecco-induced haze of sequins and chocolate wrappers. It's the most wonderful time of the year, they say. IS IT?
December is an expensive month. For some reason everybody gets a hundred times more social and you could easily go out for drinks every night of the week, so you do. Not to mention three course Christmas meals, novelty jumpers and party clothes (heavily embellished, bejewelled disco frocks are NOT cheap). I'm hoping for a lottery win so my family and friends get more than a lump of coal this year.
Tins of biscuits, jars of sweeties, vats of mulled wine: Christmas is an eating challenge unlike any other. This 2 week long party is sponsored by saturated fat. The workplace is particularly treacherous, with suppliers and clients and kindly colleagues bringing in tubs of tempting treats on a daily basis. Add in all that seasonal booze and you're all set for a Christmas bod akin to Santa Claus.
Once you've picked out the perfect ensemble and hit the town the reality of Christmas cavorting sets in. Your favourite bars and clubs are full of obnoxious office parties in cracker hats and comedy shirts and the bar queues are so long you'll sober up between rounds of Jägerbombs. Then comes the epic journey home in the freezing cold where an available taxi is an impossibility and you finally realise that bare legs were a bad idea.
By mid-December your relaxing summer escape seems like an eternity ago and you are completely burnt-out. This combined with a subtle yet consistent holiday hangover does not result in a cold and flu fighting machine. Germs are everywhere and they will inevitably find their way into your chest just in time for your time off.
Regardless of all these things I still LOVE Christmas. It's a magical time that we get to spend with the people we love and it also comes with presents, and pigs in blankets, and port. Maybe it actually is the most wonderful time of the year.