Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year”, according to the song. Oh no it isn’t – and here’s why, explains Susan Morrison.
This is the real Black Friday. Forget all that American nonsense about storming electrical retailers for cut-price tellies, this is the day that every barman and maid know they are going into the trenches. It doesn’t matter if you are a Leith dive, a West End brasserie or a city centre cocktail bar, Black Friday is coming your way.
It’s the last Friday before Christmas and it fires the starting gun for the beating heart of the festive season. Not the beginning, obviously. Most retailers kicked off Christmas at about the same time as they were taking the last sun cream off the shelves.
Today, a huge slab of the workforce in the city will be looking at spending more time with their families, whether they like it or not.
The pressure builds as the demands of the Christmas table bite. There’s a turkey to take into account. Why, when this dead bird has had more attention lavished upon it than a live panda, being stuffed, basted and bathed, does it emerge from the oven a weird brilliant orange, with a strong resemblance to the current US president. Who could face that on the table on Christmas Day?
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Never overlook the terror of the round table chat. How many subjects have to be avoided this year? There’s the dread possibility of that mad uncle in a Union Jack waistcoat doing battle over the roast spuds with the young student cousin who had her hair cut just to look like Nicola. Seriously, the least explosive thing at dinner will be the crackers.
Probably best stick to the Bake Off final and the weather, although young Morag will probably deliver a stern lecture about climate change in the style of Greta Thunberg, an admirable young woman, I’ll grant you, but I can’t get the feeling she could be a bit of a fun killer, even with a paper hat on. She probably makes her own out of recycled fast-food cartons. Quite successful, I’m told, if you don’t mind the constant scent of l’Odeur de KFC wafting about you.
Gift anxiety starts to rise. It’s possible the wrong computer game may have been purchased. Nothing worse than a teenager throwing a strop under the tree, denied their opportunity to truly celebrate the meaning of Christmas by stepping into a vividly imagined fantasy world where you can steal cars, rob banks and worse.
There is the constant terror of the Wrong Size. Memories of last year with that sweater for Auntie Eileen. She’d been religious about attending her Weight Watchers since April. Hadn’t so much as sniffed a digestive since June. Slimmer of the Week twice, and there you go, buying a size 18 jumper which you are forced to describe as ‘comfy’ on Christmas Day, whilst her frosty face stared at you in an attitude of restrained fury. Still, it emphasised her newly chiselled cheekbones.
Yes, the most wonderful time of the year is nearly upon us, so no wonder your average office worker is looking at the festive shift and thinking, we’re gonna need a bigger bottle of Prosecco.
Might as well start drinking now.