Wednesday, 15 December 2010


As I scoff a frosted mince pie or three, topped with pointy stars, I’m wondering what it is, precisely, that marks the start of Christmas for you. Even if you are a Bah-Humbug sort of a guy, there are so many festive options that might just tip you over the edge into something sparkly.

Could it be the arrival of one’s tree, closely followed by a ‘domestic’ over how to get the lights working? Is it the sight of a paper-chain or two being blue-tacked to the office ceiling? It might be the smell of uniquely spicy concoctions wafting out of the kitchen...pepperkaker (Norsk, see above), Christmas cake, mulled wine or some non-descript experiment dreamed up by an over-enthusiastic youth.

Perhaps it’s a viewing, tissue in hand, spectacles steaming up with emotion, of the school show...who can resist melting when a five-year-old angel starts to sing? Is it the first time you shout, ‘Oh no it isn’t’ (or the opposite) at some hairy old bloke in a sticky-out dress and high heels? It might be the moment you festivify your toe-nails in a startling shade of scarlet edged with golden glitter. If you’re a bit of an old bore, it might simply be reading the papers, full as they are of the annual round-ups of Best This and That for 2010. Or maybe it’s that annual cry of frustration... ‘which fool has nicked the sellotape, I’m in the middle of something really important here, Pratt-features’.

Perhaps you are a genuinely tasteful person, and wait until an angelic choir boy sings the first strains of ‘Once In Royal David's City’ from King’s College, Cambridge on Christmas Eve itself.

Everyone has their own particular ‘Official Christmas Moment’ when the whole jing-bang kicks off and we are lost in a miasma of over-indulgence before emerging, heavier but skint, just in time for a really serious session at Hogmanay. Some of us are overly-keen and are already there hard-core wassailler I know says Christmas starts when the first snow-flake falls. Ambitious, I would say....apart from being a hopeless romantic, surely THIS year he’s going to be on his knees with exhaustion by the time we reach the 25th.

I expect you have been on the absolute edge of your seat with anticipation, if not foaming at the mouth, desperate to know how our choir concert turned out. Well, as it happens, that concert, which is of course an annual village event, marks the start of Christmas for many a reveller round here. People travel miles, you know, braving all manner of hazards to delight in our dulcets. Knowing this, you can only imagine the immense burden of responsibility placed upon our choral shoulders.

Thus, we approached our Christmas Concert with reverence and glitter, decked out as we were in a classy blend of black and silver. Star-like, we belted through the music full pelt. In rehearsal, we had been reprimanded for too much nodding in parts, (especially the wiggly bits in Handel’s ‘Messiah’) and told off for not swaying enough in the more swingy numbers. There’s ‘nae slackin’ in this choir, you have to pay attention. Glancing through my pencilled-in marks on the music, you would wonder what the heck was going says ‘nae noddies...keep the heed....just shut up noo...start swaying from left....put a sock in it here....eyebrows-eyebrows!!!!!....gentle wooooo’. (Obviously, I have no idea what any of this actually means.)

Well, we made ‘em laugh and we made ‘em cry, which is one of my main aims in life, so the job was done. We also shocked ‘em into singing a few times, which is always good for a laugh. Eventually, after numerous attempts, the rapturous applause was calmed with the promise of a mince-pie and a wee dram, and everyone was miraculously transformed into the very essence of Christmas Present. Fa la la la lah, la la lah lah lah.

Now, if you’re having a little trouble finding your ‘Official Christmas Moment’, I’ll just say one thing....Farmer’s Market, Noon, Saturday, Carols, Be there or don’t be in The Square.


  1. There are a few things that start it off for me - advent candle in church; the fabby German christmas market; carols in the park; and the lush mince pies, mulled wine, mulled cider and other christmassy spices (always comes back to food/drink with me).

    Love the scottish slang - miss it. Off to phone my brother!

  2. What a lovely post! I'm so glad your concert was great, and wish I could join you in the square. For me, Christmas starts when we get the boxes of Christmas decorations down from the top shelves of the hall closet. We decorate the house a week or two before we put the tree up, most years. Every year when I open up the boxes, I am surprised to see the "Christmas wishes" we wrote down when we put the decorations away the previous January. It's a nice amnesia to have, and fun to see how many of our wishes for the past year came true.

  3. Well done on the successful concert, my first Christmas moment is the same every year and it's infuriating!! It usually happens the day after Halloween, it's the arrival of the Xmas adverts on tv.....

  4. Dom Goddess...I'm sure you are right, it's a gradual thing inspired by many moments, not just one.
    Christine, is that a US thing? Do you write them down a put them in the box? Cool...never heard of it.
    Ryan, DON''s too depressing. Grab the glogg, I say, and keep cheery.

  5. The Christmas wishes tradition is something I heard or read about over here in Scotland. We each write our wishes for the coming year on a piece of paper. When we've packed all the decorations away, the piece of paper goes on top. It's always interesting to see, the next December, how many of our wishes did come true in the year. Sometimes one no longer wishes for a particular thing so much. That seems to be more true of children ("Oh yeah, last year I was really into Hannah Montana!") but not always just of them!

  6. Sounds fabulous. Mine is when the cards are all sent and the presents bought - quite a problem this year when online things haven't arrived because of the weather. And carols in church of course. Every Blessing

  7. Christine, lovely idea...amazing how one learns something about one's own nation every day!
    Freda, good luck with the online arrivals...ingenuity is called for in these situations. And Happy Singing!

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