After months of dreary lockdown, the Christmas holidays is our chance to put on a bit of sparkle
The inventor of the fairy light should be knighted. This year their humble bulbs are doing much heavy lifting. This being a year that progressed at the speed of dark, its days crawling into one another and sitting there for a while as if out of puff on a park bench before plodding onwards to complete the week, poorly. And it was for this reason that I made the executive decision to start Christmas in October. Fairy lights are clambering up my cacti, around the fireplace, along picture rails. They flicker at all times, regardless of migraine. Electricity bills, ozone be damned, they are the lights by which we breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner. They are the lights by which we homework, fight and cook. They are the lights by which we make up, sourly. On they cheer, little fireworks celebrating our small flakes of achievement – hitting the high note in Silly Games, successfully applying our cat’s flea treatment, remembering to wash a PE kit.
This, remarkably, is the first year I’ve done Christmas decorations and honestly I’m kicking my Jewy self, for the illusion of raw joy they bring is very fabulous. Fairy lights were my first seasonal indulgence. A gateway drug to the darker pursuits, of three-bird canapés and the occasional heating of a Heston. This year there is not a Christmas-themed food I have not either tasted noisily or fingered distractedly in the supermarket. Prosecco crisps. Could I? Should I? All cynicism that in the past may have flavoured my approach to the annual displays of cranberried meats was swallowed many months ago, and now each evening meal has been a little Christmas dinner, courtesy of such welcome touches as Waitrose’s lobster vol au vents, served as supper. The kettle boils merrily before being lovingly emptied over a Sainsbury’s pigs-in-blankets-flavoured Pot Noodle, garnished with Tesco’s pigs-in-blankets crisps. A dusting of Marks & Spencer’s pumpkin spice seasoning sprinkled over your porridge? Your chips? Why not?