So. Christmas is fast approaching again. It's a national (if not an international) cliche to say things like "Where the hell did the last year go?", "Is it really nearly Christmas again?" and "I swear Christmas starts earlier every year!"
It doesn't, of course. It's just that, no sooner have we got the inevitable Indian Summer out of the way, it's Halloween and then Bonfire Night and then there's really nothing else to occupy us other than remarking on how early it's going dark and preparing for the orgy of over indulgence and being nice to people.
Every year I tell myself that I'm going to do things differently this year. I resolve to only go to parties with people I love and care about - to not give Christmas kisses to the people who, for most of the year, I consider to be a bunch of twats. But the truth is that I really like the fact that Christmas is a brilliant excuse to bury hatchets and start afresh with people. I like the fact that it makes people more open to reconciliation and all that rubbish. See? I can't fully admit it to myself - I have to throw a bit of a downer in there to make it sound like I'm not being a sentimental old queer about it. I gave up giving Christmas cards years ago. I would have given up all the other stuff too by now if my heart was really in it. So I suppose I just have to resign myself to the fact that my heart isn't in it - I am a Christmas-phile and I always will be.
Anyway - here are my top tips for having an amazing Christmas. You can start them all right now.
1. Fight the urge to say "Bah! Humbug!" or anything similar. It only makes you sound like you are repeating a line. It's better to say nothing and even better to focus on the things about Christmas that you enjoy. For me, these are sparkly things, presents, getting tanked up and eating absolutely loads and loads.
2. Make some Christmas decorations. You'd be surprised how much fun it is. If you can borrow some kids to help you do it, you'll enjoy the whole experience even more.
3. However, don't believe the lie that Christmas is really just for kids. Bollocks to that - can kids drink too many shots at the office party and end up copping a feel under the mistletoe? No they bloody well can't. In your face, kids!
4. Cop a feel under the mistletoe. Just make sure that the other party involved is happy for you to cop a feel. Or use Rohypnol. And a giant pinch of salt.
5. Have a real Christmas tree. Don't listen to the killjoys who tell you it's bad for the environment and the squirrels. Plastic trees smell like shit and real trees smell like Christmas. Imitations just will not cut it.
6. Spend as much of the festive season (when you're not in licensed premises) as possible in front of a real fire. And have a yule log. I intend to go to some woods this year and get a really big one that will last for the whole Christmas period. It's pagan but in a cute way
7. Go to every single party that you're invited to. It's the one time of year when you can do that and not feel remotely guilty.
8. When you go to those parties, wear something extremely glamorous or extremely stupid. For the same reason that it's important to go to the parties.
9. When you're not partying, do really self indulgent things that give you pleasure, like baking cookies, or having a mammoth bubble bath, or shagging, or spending hours looking at porn on the internet. Why the fuck shouldn't you?
10. Finally, always - and I mean ALWAYS - cultivate the idea in your head that it's not that often that everyone you know is celebrating the same thing at the same time as you. Make the most of it. Know that it will soon be over and that January is super depressing. This is fun time.
So. What are you waiting for? I insist that you go right away and find some kids, some crepe paper, a Pritt Stick, some cotton wool and tons of glitter. Those Christmas decorations won't make themselves!