Christmas greetings throw up a dilemma

Kate Livingstone
Kate Livingstone

I must apologise to you all. I realise you’ll be reading this on Christmas Day or Boxing Day or even after that, but the good people at The Falkirk Herald gave me a deadline of December 22 for my column this week, and, as you can imagine, there is just one topic of conversation.

Doesn’t matter who you talk to, people, on some level, are talking about Christmas.

Whether it’s worrying about when they are going to collect their turkey or humming tunes from their children or grandchildren’s nativity shows, it’s on everyone’s mind.

As I write this cold Thursday evening, I find myself in a bit of a sticky situation.

I traditionally walk round the doors with my neighbours’ Christmas cards a few nights before the big day.

A few years back, when I lived somewhere else, me and the neighbours used to bump into each other as we dished out the street’s cards on either December 22 or 23.

It was one of those unwritten laws, but it worked very well, and if you timed it right, you could be invited in for a hot mince pie, cool double cream and a glass or sherry.

In fact one year I “timed” it a bit too well as I had several sherries, so much so I was lucky to find my front door from the one across the road.

Anyway, this year, and in a street that I have lived in longer than I think I have, everyone has posted their cards rather early.

With a full week to go until Christmas Day, I must have eight from the neighbours.

The problem I face is that they have all been written in a rather lovely way: ‘To Kate, all the best for Christmas and New Year, love Ann and Bill’, or ‘Dear Kate, hope to see you over the holidays, Best Wishes Jack and Vera’.

I’ve changed the names here obviously, but the point is - and I blush to say it - I don’t know my neighbours’ names or which names go with which house.

In the good old days, folk used to write their house numbers in brackets, but I’ve not seen this for years now.

I still do it, in fact this is probably the reason everyone knows my name!

Right, New Year resolution number 11 - get to know the neighbours and stop this modern day embarrassment of writing ‘Have a great Christmas, number 51’