What makes the perfect Christmas, you filthy animal?

“Look what you did, you little jerk.” Charming.

I am of course quoting 90’s Christmas classic, Home Alone. The kids watched it for the first time the other day. Unsurprisingly they loved it, and it’s been on repeat ever since in our house. It certainly beats having to watch Paw Patrol or the world’s most irritating YouTuber, Stampy, talking about Mine Craft all day. But when my daughter called me a ‘filthy animal’ at breakfast the other day, I did query whether it’d impacted their vernacular in a positive way.

But hey, it’s Christmas, and anything goes at Christmas, right? I mean, I had a glass of mulled wine on Monday for Christ sake. On a ruddy Monday! Wild!

pud.jpgAnd Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without an office party. I went to SevernShed in Bristol for mine on Wednesday. Cue cocktails, discussions about why us humans ‘enjoy’ watching TV shows about mass murderers (has anyone else seen Rillington Place? It’s brutal and Tim Roth is terrifyingly brilliant), and miniature portions of Christmas pudding. Seriously, it was the size of a Tuc biscuit.

“Where’s the rest of it,” I asked the waitress. She must have loved me.

“Eat that bit first, and I’ll get you some more,” I was told. Never did see her again…

Christmas parties are difficult ones to judge. Everyone encourages everyone else to drink lots (I was coerced into a tequila slammer – it’s been a while). But no one wants to make a fool of themselves at a work do. If only ‘2004 Tom Huelin’ had known that, before taking the karaoke mic to sing an expletive-strewn version of Don’t Look Back in Anger in front of colleagues…and bosses.

“You said the brains I had went to my head,” I sang that night. Chance would be a fine thing.

But Christmas is about balance. Treasure the frivolity, but don’t forget there’s a big bad world out there. The morning after our Christmas do, I turned on the TV to see the scenes in Aleppo, where a ceasefire had been agreed allowing civilians to be rescued from the war-torn city. If ever there was a reminder that weighing up which 2-for-1 cocktail option to take up wasn’t the be-all-and-end-all of life, then that was it.

For some, just making it through Christmas will be reason enough to celebrate. Take Murtaza Ahmadi, the six year old boy from Afghanistan who was pictured earlier this year wearing a plastic bag as a football shirt, with the name of his hero, Lionel Messi, penned on the back. The power of social media has taken the child – virtually at first – to Messi himself. This week the two met in Qatar, with the boy joining Lionel and his Barcelona teammates on the football field. This video is beautiful.

For me, Christmas is about those little gestures. Like this morning at my girl Ella’s school Carol Service. Ella taking to the stage with her choir mates to sing Little Donkey was just gorgeous.

And it’s about generosity. Like the company who contributed 8000 presents to local radio station’s appeal to collect presents for the 86,000 kids living in poverty in this country. The company had forsaken their annual Secret Santa to contribute to this worthy cause.

mugIt’s a great idea – maybe more of us should do that next year. It would certainly make a nice change to the #organisedfun tradition that is Secret Santa. Seriously, are we stupid? To basically toss our hard-earned money away on gifts people don’t want, and will never use again. Retailers must be laughing their Santa hats off as we buy this crap (no pun intended, here’s what I got this year).

Anyway, enjoy the festivities – whatever makes it a perfect Christmas for you. Good luck getting your last minute presents, wrapping and food shopping done before the Big Day!


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