And so we enter that surreal period of the calendar, known to me (and possibly to some other people) as Twixmas, when Christmas is sort of over, but it isn’t really over because we still have New Year’s Eve to ‘look forward to’. If I’m honest I’ve never been a big celebrator of New Year and less so since becoming a parent and the notion of staying up until midnight voluntarily became unthinkable. In that sense all Covid has done to my plans for the New Year is level the playing field as it seems most people will now have to have a quiet night in too.
But more about the joys of New Year in a few days, when the event itself is upon us. For now I must occupy myself with other matters. Such as…
…well, that’s the problem with Twixmas isn’t it? Most years it’s just empty time that might be filled by post-Christmas bargain hunting, or with a visit to one of the lesser relatives, the ones that didn’t quite make the cut for Christmas Dinner. Or even Boxing Day leftovers. But this year, thanks to a certain pandemic, there really isn’t much to do but sit around eating chocolate in a reindeer onesie that is now alarmingly tight around the waist.
And so I thought I might catch up on my correspondence. After all I get a lot of Christmas greetings at this time of year and I’m not sure I’ve reciprocated all of them. Well, I know for a fact I haven’t reciprocated any of them, but I am assuming that Mrs Proclaims has done the important ones like family and friends.
But there are definitely some Christmas greetings in my email inbox that haven’t been replied to and I think it only fair that I acknowledge them. Which I’m going to do now. On this blog.
The first unsolicited Christmas greeting I received was on the 22nd December, from an estate agent based in High Wycombe. I did once live in High Wycombe, for a fairly uninspiring twelve months between August 2012 and August 2013, but I definitely used a different estate agent to find the rather souless dwelling I occupied for that duration. In my hunt for somewhere to live, I must have contacted the business that now sends me regular seasons greetings, but I don’t think I could ever reasonably have been considered one of their clients. So their devotion to ensuring that I have a happy Christmas is really quite touching.
The second message, also received on the 22nd of December, wishing me a merry Christmas, came from a government-sanctioned Covid 19 research group. I signed up to use their app at some point in the last ten months, but I’ve definitely now deleted that app in order to make more space for fun things on my phone. Still, there is nothing more heart-warming than a Christmas greeting that reminds you of the literal state of horror the world is in right now. So that one cheered me up immensly.
The 23rd of December brought a flurry of new messages. One from the Welsh Rugby Union, which is sort of fair enough because in non-Covid times I have been known to frequent the odd international rugby match in Cardiff. Another came from a local theatre group that again have entertained me and Mrs Proclaims in happier times. The third came from a holiday company I once booked with and while it was a lovely holiday, I don’t recall being on first name terms with Tom, who sent the email. But he seems like he really cares about my Christmas so all the best to him I say. The final one on the 23rd was particularly touching because it came from a company that has developed photos for me in the past. I was moved less by the memories of the services they have provided for me than by the fact that their message was sent, and I quote, ‘with love’. I had no inkling that they felt that way about me, but if a faceless business can’t declare it’s love for one of their more infrequent customers at Christmas time then I’m not sure when it could.
Christmas Eve only brought two messages of seasonal good will. The first was from a martial arts supplier that I don’t remember ever buying anything from but, if I did, it’s been well over three years since I last did anything resembling martial arts, so their continued investment in my happiness is obviously not something I have reciprocated recently. The other was from a purveyor of coffee, which would make sense because I like coffee, but I don’t actually think I’ve ever bought any of their coffee. They’ve got my details so I presumably have but it certainly hasn’t been in the last twelve months.
What was really lovely, and in some ways what made Christmas special for me, was the fact that some companies chose to hold off sending me their festive greetings until the big day itself and I got no less than three messages from companies I have bought things from in the last few months. One was an electrical goods company and the other two were clothing retailers. It honestly gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside to know that they cared enough to make sure that I knew they were thinking of me on Christmas Day, although I confess I did feel a little guilty because I hadn’t thought about any of them at all.
Anyway, I don’t really have time to reply to all of those lovely, thoughtful businesses individually, because I still have beer in the fridge and the Christmas cake isn’t going to eat itself, but I presume, given that they all care so deeply about me, that they are all avid followers of my blog, so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish them all my very best for the rest of the holiday and beyond. Obviously I can’t guarantee that any of them will receive my business next year, but I know that’s not what the messages were about and so none of them will mind.
If you are a proprietor of a business and you didn’t send me a Christmas greeting this year then I just want you to take a moment to have really good long look at yourself. Because I notice these things. Although if you do provide a service that I need to avail myself of, and you provide reasonable value for money, then I will overlook it on this occasion. But I will do so with no joy in my heart and you’ll just have to make do with my money and not my affection until you up your game.