Shropshire Star

Dan Morris: Savouring the season

December 23 – the day I traditionally start my Christmas shopping.

Captain Organised is here to stay...

Alas, dear readers, 'tis true. Advanced planning and organisation have never really been quite in my wheelhouse, and I've always prided myself on being more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants sort of chap.

With this, I spent many a year running out of clean socks, joining dinner dates a day late, and waiting until only 48 hours before Santa came to town to even start buying Christmas gifts.

There was a bit (if only a bit) of method to my madness with the latter. Even before I became a journalist, I thrived under the pressure of a tight deadline. It always gave me the additional kick of adrenaline I needed to get the job done, and when I used to make my annual December 23 pilgrimage to Birmingham's Bull Ring (Other retail Meccas are of course available. Ho, ho, ho...), the game was on and I was a finely tuned and highly focussed shopping Jedi.

One year – my nineteenth, if I recall – I'd bagged a faux fur coat, a chocolate fountain and a pair of safari-print stilettos in under half an hour. And with dad's gifts sorted, I could then move on to mum for the rest of the day...

The truth of the matter was, like many people, I always used to let December run away with me. It can feel like we spend all of the autumn twiddling our thumbs almost waiting for the festive season to get here. Yet when it does, Christmas is soon only a week away and the tucker and prezzies are still ding dong merrily on high.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, this year I thought I'd take a somewhat different approach.

For what I believe may well be the first time ever, I started getting the Christmas goods in not even as early as December 22, but in fact at the end of the previous month. This has meant that for the last 24 hours I have been experiencing an eerie sense of dread akin to Catherine O'Hara when on the plane in Home Alone; sure she had forgotten something, not realising that thing was her son.

Wanting to make sure that the little 'un has the best Christmas in the world, I felt it prudent to get my act together in a more organised fashion than normal this year, and I'm amazed at how well it has worked.

Like a man who has just discovered fire in the 21st century, I'm pleased to announce that piecemeal Christmas shopping is most definitely the future, and I recommend that next year you all get behind this revolutionary idea.

Truth be told, getting Christmas sorted in a more relaxed way and with my lil' princess to guide me and help pick out gifts for the rest of the fam has been one of my highlights of the year. Christmas is a brandy, not a tequila; it should be savoured rather than shot, and that means every part of it. Taking my time buying presents meant taking the time to enjoy doing so, and seeing my daughter's teeny little face light up when she pointed at a gift for her grandad will stay with me until the day that I die. And probably for a few thousand years after that.

So, for every Christmas yet to come, this is now me. The pants are on the outside of the trousers, and the cape is firmly attached as Captain Organised makes his pledge to save the festive season for evermore. After all, the finest things in life should never be rushed.

As Saint Nick is about to knock firmly on the doors, folks, I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of everyone at Weekend Towers to wish you a truly merry Christmas, and to extend our thanks for supporting the deliciously deranged and dysfunctional band of elves that we are over the last year.

We hope that you have enjoyed reading Weekend as much as we have enjoyed putting it together, and I'd like to thank you all personally for helping me to keep my boyhood dream alive.

To be given the chance to make you laugh is a privilege, and I promise, as always, to do better next year.

Happy Christmas, folks; God bless us, every one!

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