Something to Declare
Danny Robins is looking forward to a profusion of novelty socks this Christmas.
ILLUSTRATION: SPENCER WILSON / SYNERGY ART
IT STARTS IN LATE OCTOBER AND FINISHES in early March. It will force you to spend time with people you try to avoid all year and will leave you bankrupt, bloated, overweight and with a collection of knitted objects you have absolutely no use for. It’s Christmas!
Yes, the festive season is upon us – that time of year when you head home to see your loved ones or, if you’re not lucky enough to have loved ones, spend it with your family. All around the world, airports are rammed with people clutching bags full of presents, wishing for a white Christmas and then complaining when snow delays their flight.
Everything takes longer at airports at Christmas. There are more people – and those more people have more bags to check in, more coats to take off at security and, of course, more shopping to do. Airport shops, usually a place to browse calmly before your flight, take on a frenzied and desperate air. However well you think you have done in terms of buying presents for your relatives, some sort of chemical reaction takes place in your brain when you reach Tax Free, and you will start panic-buying shortbread, Susan Boyle albums and novelty musical reindeer socks.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. If I wasn’t a comedian, I’d definitely want to be an elf – I just think it could be better organised. If I was in charge of the European Union (something I admit is unlikely to happen in the near future) I would propose this radical solution: why not stagger the date that Christmas is celebrated around Europe?
It seems obvious to me – as long as everyone celebrates in December we’ll always have to put up with huge queues at airports. But, if we take it in turns, so that Spanish Christmas is in February, the Germans celebrate it in March, Belgium gets it in April, etc, then voilà – no more airport queues. OK, there are potential downsides: that picturesque Prague ice rink may be a bit soggy in August but, on a more positive note, just think, if you had enough time and money you could travel around celebrating Christmas 12 times a year!
Of course that will never happen. The Reindeer Union is just too strong – no way would they give up their annual 11-month holiday. And don’t even think of messing with the National Elf Service. So, I guess we’ll just have to put up with busy airports again this year. But, as you fight your way through security, clutching your bags and cursing the queues, I hope you’ll never forget what Christmas is truly about – novelty musical socks.