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Rupert Cox: The Christmas countdown

PUBLISHED: 11:16 12 December 2016 | UPDATED: 11:16 12 December 2016

Rupert Cox:

Rupert Cox: "I'm afraid I'm one of those who buys his Christmas gifts in the last few days" (c) Digital Vision

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Our columnist Rupert Cox, CEO of the Royal Bath and West Society, mulls over the challenges of the festive season

What is it about Christmas that makes us all eat too much, drink too much, and then of course regret too much? I say ‘all’ as I doubt very much it is just me, although for those of you who know my ample frame, you might think that I am trying to share my burden of an over ambitious appetite with everyone!

The build-up to Christmas is enlivened by the multitude of food fairs and markets across the county that are in full swing well before the usual yuletide period commences.

Who can host the earliest Christmas market? I saw Children’s Hospice SW’s fair advertised for late October, with our event at the Bath & West Showground taking place over the last weekend in November, with more to follow in every community throughout December, but how early can you buy the Christmas turkey?

As one of the members of the less domestically-organised gender, Christmas shopping continues to be an enigma to me. What do you buy friends and family who buy what they want and need when they want and need it and not wait to see if they get given it for Christmas?

Many decades have passed since an orange in the bottom of the Christmas stocking was regarded as a treat with a pair of snazzy socks or colourful silk boxers now thought of as the staple gift for those who can’t think what to buy a bloke.

I am afraid I am one of those who buys most of his Christmas gifts in the last few days before the big event and sometimes my choices are truly inspirational, but more often than not, rather dull. Perhaps I should take heed from the ladies in my family who put thought and science into matching the present with the recipient.

I am usually responsible for the Christmas food in our household, but even with access to some of the highest quality food and liqueur in the country, for the first time in 33 years, I am having a year off! Regular readers of my ramblings will know that grand-fatherhood was thrust upon me in May and this year we pack up our bags and spend our first Christmas as guests of my son and daughter-in-law in Croydon together with the other ‘in-laws’.

‘Baah Humbug’! could be your retort to my thoughts, but there is a serious point to my acerbic Yule observations, and it is this: It is not what you eat or the presents you receive or give, it is the people you share Christmas with that matter most. So when I sit down with my extended family on Christmas Day and start to nod off after The Queen’s Speech, I will share a thought for those who would like to share Christmas with someone but for whatever reason spend this special time alone.

Have a very happy Christmas.

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