I could start with the things I love about the festive season. But it’s more fun, surely, to talk about the things I hate?
Top of the list are those appallingly manufactured experiences known as office Christmas parties. Now that I’m freelance, these are less of an chore. I more or less enjoy being invited to office parties of publishers and publications I work with. I get to put faces to names, nobody expects me to stay for long, and there are usually networking opportunities to make the coming year more profitable.
Back when I was a nine-to-five office worker, I used to dread Christmas parties.
I felt sick the moment the way-too-excited memo arrived in November. Usually arranged by some gruesomely needy HR minion, these bastardly bashes only seemed to be looked forward to by two categories of employee: friendless bores and resentful young fathers. For them, the chance to have a night out of the house with alcohol being consumed and other homo sapiens present was a novelty.
For the rest of us, it was punishment. I would pray I’d be struck with illness on the day of the get-together, and end-up concocting elaborate excuses to leave early. But whichever company I’ve worked for has always had that one bore, who theatrically bollocks anyone trying to escape: ‘Oh, you’re not splitting on us, are you?’ (Rough translation: ‘Christ, I wish I too had the guts to quit this pitiful charade.’)
Even worse is that trusty slice of anti-climax known as the New Years Eve party. I can’t stand the moment when crazy-eyed revellers start the midnight countdown: ’10! 9! 8! 7…’ It makes me want to run to the woods and writhe around on the ground in despair and embarrassment for the human race.
Enforced fun is no fun at all. Only those so unimaginative they are incapable of creating or even experiencing genuine, spontaneous fun can truly enjoy these phantasms of the festive season.
Bah humbug, I know.
In happier news, I do enjoy the special ‘red cup’ lattes that the big coffee chains rock out at this time of year. My favourite two are the Costa praline and cream latte, and the Starbucks toffee nut latte. I recently checked how many points I’ve amassed on my Costa card in 2012 and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Bottom line: if the Mayan prophecies are true, I’ll never have to pay for coffee again.
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