We idealise Christmas – of course we do. Family, presents, good food, church bells, roaring fires inside, softly falling snowflakes outside: a time to rejoice in the good that we see, to borrow a festive phrase.
The reality doesn’t always work out like that. Familial rows, gifts you don’t want, overcooked sprouts, stifling central heating and walks in the rain: the Christmas we get we deserve, to borrow another.
Illness besets many a winter holiday. As a child, I habitually developed a cold on or around 23 December; the come-down after a tiring term at school. In my late teens and twenties, pre-Christmas parties would take a similar toll and have the same consequences. I think I’ve got a sniffle coming on as I write.
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