Sym­bols and signs of the most won­der­ful time

Uxbridge Gazette - - OPINION -

SIGNS of the fes­tive sea­son are ev­ery­where, herald­ing the prospect of be­ing nice to each other, if only for a few weeks. Once we waited with bated breath for the dec­o­ra­tions to go up in shops, be­fore stag­ger­ing round them with a long list and heavy bags. Nowa­days much of the shop­ping is done on-line. The temp­ta­tion of next day de­liv­ery is too great to re­sist, but I still love the at­mos­phere in our shop­ping cen­tres, so I save some of my present-buy­ing to tot­ter round to Noddy Holder’s Merry Christmas Ev­ery­body, the favoured Christmas an­them since the 1970s.

It is still a mag­i­cal time. I love the mulled wine, Christmas car­ols and the story of the Na­tiv­ity. Who has not en­joyed a pri­mary school pro­duc­tion at some time in their lives?

Many mem­o­ries are made at this time, and I’ve cer­tainly never for­got­ten play­ing a very scared shep­herd with a tea towel on my head, and car­ry­ing a wonky lamp.

New tra­di­tions in­clude the daft TV ad­verts for the big stores, which are hotly an­tic­i­pated. Or so we are in­formed by the me­dia. Have you seen this year’s Waitrose robin that battles through ter­ri­ble weather and over rough oceans – to eat a crumb of a mince pie in a Bri­tish gar­den? Tra­di­tional, sen­ti­men­tal, pa­tri­otic? Yes. Naff? Never – it’s CHRISTMAS!

Mind you, if the robin had heard about He­ston Blu­men­thal’s lat­est of­fer­ing for Waitrose: a strange ba­con and ba­nana tri­fle, per­haps he wouldn’t have both­ered brav­ing the ele­ments. Who knows what was in that mince pie on the bird ta­ble …?

Mr F and I still write Christmas cards, which is de­light­fully old-fash­ioned and much more per­sonal than greet­ings through so­cial net­works. Our nod to mod­ern tech­nol­ogy in­cludes com­put­erised ad­dress la­bels, and an ad­vent cal­en­dar that is a de­light to open each day on my lap­top.

We may be far re­moved from kings fol­low­ing a star, but Mr F and I al­ways look out for odd signs when we are on a long jour­ney. One on the M40 re­cently was re­ally worth tak­ing our eyes off the road. It said, ‘This Sign is Not in Use’.

We groan over the ‘baby on board’ signs which im­ply we all drive like ma­ni­acs un­less given spe­cial in­struc­tion. But the best one we spot­ted was on the back of an Abel and Cole van. It said: Cour­gettes on Board.

Merry Christmas!

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