James Marston: Christmas comes but once a year - thankfully

James does all of his Christmas shopping in Felixstowe - or online

James does all of his Christmas shopping in Felixstowe - or online - Credit: Archant

Have you found the time to throw a stunning cocktail party this Christmas? Or even have the neighbours in for mulled wine and mince pies.

I will just about to invite a few friedns in on Christmas Eve. I throw together a beef bourguignon and a few spuds - I don’t think people appreciate too much poultry the night before a turkey dinner - and a lasagne. But I shan’t be pouring strange drinks and nibbles down people’s throats.

Dear readers, I just don’t want the expense and the fuss and I haven’t got the time for pastry-based mini bites.

If I’m opening any Champagne – and the supermarkets seem full of it - it’s going to be for me and no one else to drink.

So far Christmas is not only the time of good will to all men but also that time of year when we go mad with other people’s money buying things for people we don’t much like.

Now this might not sound very Christmas-like but I’ve gone past caring.

Apart from my immediate family I don’t buy for anyone at all.

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I even suggested to my sister Claire who enjoys murder mysteries and occasional baking that we give each other crisp £50 notes – or pretend to – but she wasn’t having any of it.

And just when you think you’ve finished buying bottles of booze, socks and things for the shower then someone else gives you a “token something” just to “mark the occasion” and you’ve got to get in the car and fight the crowds and buy something for them in a hurry – I usually plump for edible gifts when push comes to Christmas shove.

Well I have a simple rule - if it isn’t available in Felixstowe then they aren’t having it.

Apart from the online stuff – and isn’t that a boon? No wonder people had things delivered in the olden days - I’ve managed to get everything I need in Suffolk’s premier resort where I enjoy the facility of a small flat with sea views (distant).

As my sister Claire who also likes winter jigsaw puzzles said: “Did you get us some nice presents James? Have you pushed the boat out this year? Made a bit of an effort?”

“Of course I have”, I reassured her “I’ll have you know I was a long time in Poundland, and the charity shops are marvellous aren’t they?”

What a wonderful time of year.