“I am the Ghost of Christmas Present,” said the Spirit. “Look upon me!”

Once upon a time, we used to post on here daily. Sure, there’s two of us so the burden was split, but I still don’t know how we did it. I suspect many of my posts were actually glorified tweets. Back then we were new parents of a blog, paying attention to our child all the time. But, now we’ve slipped a little, and out blog may spend rather a lot of its time unsupervised, eating biscuits for dinner and playing out till all hours with the other sporadic blogs. My last post of the year used to actually mean something as a break was unusual, but it no longer applies.

Still, I like the idea of an end-of-year sign off.  Soon, there will be shiny new books to take pictures of (or Santa will be in serious trouble), and very likely new reading challenges to jump into, conveniently forgetting previous ones, such as that time I said I’d read all of Dickens (hey, there’s still time!) and last year it was supposed to be all of The Rougon-Macquart Cycle (hey, there’s still — nope, forget it, having too much Zola miserable.)

And so, I hope you all have great Christmasses! I will be slowly eating myself spherical, and indulging in my hobby of driving about judging people according to their Christmas lights. It’s not that I’m totally snobby about it, I can appreciate the kitsch glory of full-on, can-be-see-from-space creations, as well tasteful white lights. There are actually only two things I can’t handle, and if any of these things apply to you, apologies in advance (not really, I mean every word.)

Firstly, blue lights. Especially flashing blue lights. Not twinkly-twinkly, but FLASH-FLASH-FLASH-FLAAAASH. I feel like slapping a POLICE AWARE sticker across their front window. How can they sit there calmly watching TV with an ambulance in the front room!? Does the coffee table think the Christmas tree is trying to pull it over?! Flashing lights scare me. Someone is hurt. Or, someone has broken the law. Best case scenario, someone is trying to land a plane. I have never thought, when being overtaken by a police car or fire engine, Oooh, I could just go for a mince pie right now.

Secondly, people who sit with the big light on. While looking at houses, it surprises me how many people have their curtains wide open and the BIG light on. The big light is there for when you have dropped a pin or the wee screw out of your specs, or for when hanging wallpaper. Who can relax in a room lit well enough to perform a triple bypass?!

On my way through Aberdeen traffic the other night I saw the double, a floodlit living room and a blue-lit tree, flashing violently enough to induce a seizure. I wanted to knock on their door. I had a fake holly wreath on the seat next to me, with lit icicles on it, that I wore at work and regularly said ‘Come in and know me better, man!’ to people (no one got it, not even when I spoke like Brian Blessed). I’d have worn that wreath as issued them with a book or two about hygge.

I am on call over Christmas, but hopefully nothing will happen, and Friday will be my last day before back to work on Boxing day. When it comes to the last day of work, we should to study the work of Kermit, as he embodies the feeling perfectly.

This Christmas I will also be re-watching my favourite version of A Christmas Carol, Albert Finney’s Scrooge. It features one of the catchiest songs ever written in the history of the mankind, and nothing says Christmas like a big musical where total strangers on a street all know how to spin around together in unison. And so, to our readers —

— for reading! See you in the new year!