Well it’s started. Christmas I mean. Or rather Christmas in the supermarket if I’m being precise. I don’t mean the stacked displays of Christmas puds, advent calendars, greetings cards, crackers, tonic water on special offer until 31 December (two for a quid at Morrisons), fairy lights, mini cakes coated in icing with marzipan lurking underneath or even novelty decorations.
No, you can ignore them if you’re not in the mood, just walk past and busy yourself with the normal weekly shop, although I must say that even I couldn’t ignore the spinning snowman decoration available at Homebase — squeeze its hand and it starts twirling and bopping to You’re as cold as ice by Foreigner.
I can even ignore the articles that tell us that black Christmas trees (as illustrated) are this year’s cool living room accessory for the style-conscious.
What I can’t ignore though is the Christmas muzak. Noddy Holder blaring away is impossible to ignore, even if it’s only to cause me to grind my teeth. (Why does a condom dispenser always spring to mind?)
And it started tonight. It was only faint, but there was no mistaking the jovial Yuletide inevitability of it all. Now I could play the “Bah! Humbug” card, but I won’t. I’m giving in here and now by festivising my blog, as the marketing consultants might have it.
Here goes. I was really taken with this article about how scientists are using DNA to find the original Father Christmas. Not the Mr C, you understand, just the people (men actually) with the surname Christmas and whether the owners of this unusual sobriquet might have a common ancestor.
The idea is that one single 13th century bloke in Yorkshire, originally Norman, called ‘Chrystmasse’ could be the daddy of them all. The Y chromosome might prove it.
But of festive surnames, my favourite is ‘Snowball.’ Not sure how it came about, whether a slushy lump of snow on the back of the head or Advocaat and lemonade, but there were a lot of them in the 1881 census, mostly in the north east, and presumably living there still, as well as all points south.
Hey ho. Time to enrol in Father Christmas School. Not ‘Santa’, you insidious BBC.
At least this daddy will not be enjoying any turkey or brandy sauce come what is now a nudge past the solstice. With luck and local custom, Paul Gadd might be playing the central (painful) role at Easter.