Opinion

Wednesday 19 June 2019

Ian O'Doherty: 'Nothing says an Irish Christmas quite like the phrase: "welcome home"'

Christmas shopping. Stock image
Christmas shopping. Stock image
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

I must admit, I love Christmas.

But the stress, the aggro, the needless pressure we put on ourselves?

That's not for me.

Once I realised that Christmas is what you make of it, rather than trying to conform to the ad industry's perception of what a good Yuletide should be, things became a lot easier.

But even for someone who enjoys the festive period, it's virtually impossible to maintain my decades' long dedication to laziness.

I take my commitment to indolence seriously, and I must say that I've become rather good at it.

But for those of us who can't see the point of doing a chore today when you can put if off until tomorrow, this time of the year can be rather, as they say, problematic.

Last year was the worst and still gives me The Fear.

A combination of typically bad planning and time management meant that I didn't start buying presents until Christmas Eve.

That, I thought, was the sensible option - get the work done, then do a surgical strike to the shops and get home, laden with presents, by about lunchtime.

Well, that turned out to be a catastrophically stupid decision and rather than being the smartest cookie in the room, I spent the day jostling with other men as we desperately spent money we didn't have on things people didn't want.

Christmas seemed to creep up on us idiots who were desperately trying to buy anything that wasn't nailed down and, later, when I pointed out the huge number of men and very few women to the wife, she had a simple response - men are idiots.

Frankly, after the hellish experience of the previous few hours, I couldn't argue with her.

But it won't sneak up on me this year because I am now fully into the festive mood.

The reason? Well, in my local the other night, a group gathered behind were waiting for a special guest. When they turned up, the air was filled with cries of 'welcome home!'

And it struck me - there isn't a phrase that better suits the best elements of an Irish Christmas than 'welcome home.'

It also inspired me to never make the same mistake that I made last year.

Nope, in 2018, the newer, smarter me will avoid all the Christmas Eve hassle.

I'll definitely do my shopping on the 23rd instead...

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