I bought the Christmas edition of the Radio Times from the newsagent at the Tube station yesterday morning. Now I appreciate that this is not exactly earth-shattering news but, as far as I’m concerned, it means Christmas has really begun.
You see, when I was a child, as soon as the Christmas Radio Times arrived, I would make sure I got hold of it before anyone else. I’d curl up on the sofa and read it religiously cover to cover, circling any programme I wanted to watch over the Christmas and New Year period. It always used to arrive in our house a few days before school finished and heralded the arrival of the holidays.
There was another thing about it too. In the middle, there was always an advertising supplement for summer holidays for the following year and, being a rather odd sort of boy, I would methodically go through it, sending off for all of the holiday brochures that looked as if they dealt with interesting and exotic places which, in the ‘70s, encompassed pretty much anywhere outside Devon, Cornwall and the Norfolk Broads. The result of all this was that we would be inundated by holiday brochures arriving by post through the whole of January, increasingly irritating my long-suffering parents. I still have no real idea why I did this but, as a small child, it was very much part of my Christmas routine.
I don’t clip coupons to send off for holiday brochures any more. I don’t even highlight TV programmes I want to watch any more (honest). I do, however, buy the Radio Times once a year, at Christmas and it still starts me feeling all Christmassy, even after more years than I care to remember.
This year, of course, we have also had snow, even in South West London, which has only compounded that feeling. To top it all off, mini-Falaise, at the tender age of two, has begun to get the idea of Christmas. She is very, very excited about it all. She gasped in wonder at the decorations for the tree. She squeals at pictures of Santa Claus and reindeer. She even engaged him in conversation at Selfridges and claims to have definitely been a good girl this year, in the face of a certain amount of evidence to the contrary.
All this wonderment is rubbing off on me and I have well and truly got the Christmas spirit early. So, to make sure that my usual world weariness doesn’t sneak back in and sandbag the Christmas joy, I have started to read some Christmas themed books. Now, I am not normally one for reading seasonally themed books at the appropriate time of year abut am making an exception this year. And so, with a vague drumroll, I am announcing that the 2,606 Books and Counting Twelve Days of Christmas will start on Monday. Twelve days, twelve Christmas themed books, twelve blog posts, ending on Christmas Eve. Please stop by and get into the mood with me, unless the mere thought of Christmas brings you out in hives.
Next Monday’s post, my first post of Christmas, will be on the Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris.