Maybe it's because my idea of festive facial hair is rather more "vagrant-style" than Santa Claus, but I've just not been feeling the Christmas spirit this year. Telegraphing this—as in the first act of a third-rate, live-action Disney caper—I spent the afternoon lounging around the ancestral pile watching a trinity of thoroughly unpleasant DVDs (in order: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, American Psycho and Storytelling). But salvation comes from the most unlikely of places: a repeat of The 100 Greatest Christmas Moments on E4, hosted by Jimmy arsing Carr. And now, with every radio in the house tuned to a different station, they're combining to form the sort of seasonal white noise that I've missed entirely since switching to doing all my Christmas shopping on Amazon. So it's quite unavoidably come to this: my Christmas message.
Of course, Christmas is about one thing only, and that is presents. Since the days when I was impressed by the latest Lego set, this has meant a certain lack of excitement for the 25th of December. Don't get me wrong—I'm not bemoaning an underprivileged childhood—but my parents showed impressive pragmatism around major gifts: why leave them collecting dust and depreciation in some cupboard, when we could be using them all December? Nowadays, it's more along the lines of a phone call, asking, "Is there anything you want for Christmas? I'm thinking a DVD or maybe a CD. Yeah, it's because I need to spend £20 to get free delivery…." It's such an upbringing that leaves me pathologically unable to buy a surprise gift, and also makes me something of a tight-arse.
Now that everything's come to a close for the year, and with the ironic understanding that nothing significant ever happens in the last week of December, we can also start looking back at 2005 through glasses of whichsoever hue you might choose. Since I'm feeling uncommonly well-fed and sanguine, I'll fetch the rose ones.
My year breaks down rather neatly into three parts. From January to June, I was rounding off my studies at Glasgow, culminating in Graduation, which remains one of the best days of my life (173 days since last slushy blog post/workplace accident). For three months over the summer, I worked on a little research project of my own at the uni, during which I was lucky enough to go to a conference, host a workshop, and meet a lot of interesting people. And, as if I haven't mentioned it already, since September I've been living and studying in Edinburgh.
Ah, Edinburgh, butt of so many sophomoric jokes since before we were old enough to know what a sophomore was. You get fairly good mileage out of being a Glaswegian in Edinburgh, and if I still did Pastry songs, I'd be raiding Sting's canon for certain. (And if I still did cheap innuendo, I'd be raising an arch eyebrow at that last sentence.) But, all joking aside, I was told in complete seriousness—by a person for whom I have the utmost respect, but shall remain nameless (but let's just say he was holding up the bar at the grad ball)—"You won't like it in Edinburgh. The people there are ghastly." This uncharacteristically unsubtle jibe also turned out to be completely incorrect, because, since I've moved there, it's the people I've met who have made the last three months be the time of my life. In keeping with tradition, I shan't name names, but you know who you are.
My eye turns to the clock and suggests that I'd better be wrapping this up: it wouldn't be Christmas without a repeat of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. So all that remains to be said is for me to wish you a Merry Christmas!