Ever since I gave up watching TV over Christmas and New Year I have become much, much happier. The reason Yuletide TV is so depressing is that — as with those tantalising presents under the tree — it’s fraught with a level of expectation it can never possibly fulfil. You think, ‘At last: I’m free. Free to slob; free to watch without having to worry about going to bed and getting a good night’s sleep so I can be fresh for work tomorrow. So, go on, TV: entertain me!’
I’m not even sure that it’s TV’s fault. I think it’s the problem with Christmas generally. The whole season reminds me of a slightly dodgy Ecstasy pill. ‘Am I up yet?’ you keep asking yourself. ‘When’s it going to happen? When do I peak?’ But you never do. Christmas lunch is quite nice. Singing the carols in church is quite nice. Then it goes on a bit. And a bit more. Then it’s over. I blame global warming. The only thing guaranteed to make Christmas feel like Christmas is snow and you don’t really get that in England any more except at the wrong time.
But look, I’m quite serious about this not-watching-TV-at-Christmas thing. If you really must stare at a screen, I’d just rent a bunch of movies you haven’t seen and watch those. (My mate Justin Hardy tells me it’s a crime that I haven’t seen John Carpenter’s The Thing — so I will.) What I’d recommend much more, though, is that you do what we’ll be doing this year and play board games, especially Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan.
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