Column: Countdown to Christmas is on...

editorial image

With just 68 days to go, I don’t think it’s too early to mention the ‘C’ word and the impact it will have on us all.

Like it or loathe it, you can’t ignore it, so I say bring it on!

Christmas has always been a special day for me and the family, and with two delightful grandchildren now added to the mix the scene is set for an extra-special December 25 at our place this year.

Organisation is the key to making sure the festive season does not fall flat. To this end, the final draft of my timetable is in place and good to go come December 1.

Regardless of the weather, and believe me sometimes it has not been kind, on that day the outside lights will be hung along the side of the house, the side of the garage and every tree and bush. The traditional ‘Stop Here Santa’ sign will be strategically positioned so the Big Man can’t fail to see it, and inside I’ll be carefully positioning the tree and ‘decking the halls’ with holly and everything else I have collected over the years to make sure the ‘season to be jolly’ is given a proper welcome.

Some might say that putting the decorations up so early is a bit of ‘overkill’, but my thinking is that the sooner the better is the way to go, if for no other reason that when you discover strings of icicles that were working perfectly well when you took them down on Twelth Night and carefully packed away have decided in the interim to fail you have plenty of time to get to the store and replace them before the best ones are all sold out.

That job done timeously also frees up the rest of my time to focus on the best best bit of the holiday – Christmas shopping!

Experience has taught that this is something you really shouldn’t leave until the last minute – and trust me I’ve found that out the hard way.

When I was working, the temptation to delay joining the hustle and bustle that is Christmas shopping for as long as possible in favour of a few pints in the pub with colleagues after a busy day at the office proved too tempting too often.

Now, with no such distractions, my diary is clear and I intend to take full advantage.

On that note, I have to say M&S in Falkirk High Street will be a real miss this year. This retailer was always my number one port of call on the run up to the big day, providing all the choice of gift I needed to race through the bulk of my list, and the pressies selected were always well received.

Not being a fan of on-ine shopping, and while I will be spending at a few other local outlets, I’m ready to travel further afield for some other stuff, a plan which will allow me plenty of opportunity to make full use of my bus pass.

The other big part Christmas Day, of course, is buying and then preparing the food and drink to be enjoyed, as is the tradition, during the Queen’s Speech and finished before The Great Escape starts on TV.

My role in this, the food part at least, I’m happy to say is restricted to dutifully pushing the trolley around the aisles and then loading and unloading the car because, let’s not forget, Christmas is also all about sharing.