Saturday, 23 August 2014

Thinking Ahead...

Once an idea has popped into my head, getting rid of it is extremely hard. The world seems to grind to a major halt as I begin to obsess over whatever is captivating me, which constantly follows me around like a lost puppy. Although I wouldn't exactly liken this idea to the butter-wouldn't-melt image of a sad-eyed puppy, it has nonetheless stalked me from the moment I first thought about it, an action of which I've since grown to regret. No matter what I do to fill my time, this idea returns to vengeance sooner or later...

Christmas is now on the horizon. Or so my mind thinks. As the country unites in celebration over the current Bank Holiday weekend, one fact is of high importance: this bank holiday is the very last until Christmas in four months' time. And you bet your life on the shops stocking up on mince pies and the must-have toys after this point - summer completely goes out the window by the time that Christmas re-enters our thoughts in the last few months of the year.

Thoughts regarding festivities and seasonal fun have a funny way of holding a grip on you long before you can have a great time, but that is one of the many special things about Christmas. Unlike dozens of chocolate Easter eggs or even my birthday, Christmas is a rarity in the sense that, regardless of what month it is, I always brighten at thought of sitting down to an extra special dinner and ripping open presents in an excited rush.

It thrills me so much that, this time last year, my brother and I had begun writing our Christmas lists. In August. During a warm spell far stickier than a Christmas pudding. Even at the time, I was questioning whether the weather had affected my mental state as I threw myself into the task of adding my dream gifts to my list. But for some reason, I just didn't have the willpower to wait until September to write it out; besides, I lose interest in summertime TV almost as quickly as the holidays start.

As for whether I'll be creating my annual Excel document any time soon, that remains to be seen, yet I'm struggling greatly to take my mind off all things festive. Within weeks, my mum will be baking a Christmas cake - an annual tradition established in 2011 - which will involve my helping to grate the lemons and prepare the brandy-soaked dried fruit. And, of course, catch a whiff of the strong, yet oh-so-addictive brandy itself. Christmas cake would never be the same without a few tablespoons of it!

There are numerous aspects of Christmas which are present long before it is celebrated on 25th December, such as the snow-themed aisles in the supermarkets and reports on pre-Christmas sales. The majority of it relates to advertising and, without a doubt, money - it goes without saying that Christmas is the biggest cash machine around - but the anticipation that we create contributes to the excitement surrounding to the upcoming festive season.

When the days get colder and the evenings become darker at a faster rate, we often long to be no longer plagued by what is perceived as a miserable season - winter - but the most spectacular event is nearing in sight: Christmas. The chills that we usually feel in the autumn has somewhat arrived of late, and I can sense that summer is fading away, with the next season about to begin. Once autumn comes, we are only a few months or so away from winter, in which Christmas falls, and the days appear to slip away beyond our control.

Therefore, Christmas suddenly surrounds us and, like the majority of the population, we find ourselves enclosed in this tight, anxious bubble. Desperation grips us as we seek to purchase gifts for family, friends and ourselves (for Christmas wouldn't be the same without a dose of self-indulgence), and the hectic nature of the season almost pushes us to the edge. Remember that I said almost. Yes, we pile on as much stress as we do pounds before Christmas Day because our minds are operating at ultra-fast speed - if it ever became a possibility, we would beat all the racing cars in the world due to the speedy rate of our thoughts!

Despite the drama that one single day on the calender might cause at our own expense, every groan of frustration, last-minute dash around the shop and late-night ordering on the internet is worth the energy it takes from us. Then, once the sky has darkened and the last scrap of the dinner has been consumed, we can finally relax. Or so it seems to be the case for our parents, whose efforts literally drain them like a bottle of wine. There will be quite a long time until I'll be in charge of organizing the presents, decorations and all that is involved with Christmas - and I shall make the most of it while it lasts!

For now, the only work that I'm obliged to do (which, as fun is the sole requirement, doesn't deserve the title of a chore) is create my wishlist. And, like magical elves, my parents will look at its contents which, fingers crossed, will be nicely wrapped up come Christmas morning. It is a routine that I've known since early childhood, and I'm desperate for it to last for some years because Christmas is the one time when I enjoy regaining my inner child. Everything excites as much as it did when I was five years old, which always makes Christmas such a delight; you needn't ask whether it is my favourite time of the year.

It simply is and I, for one, wish that the countdown would begin soon!

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