2020 Christmas, The Cobbled Together Edit

It’s beginning to look like a Christmas coffee-shop, evvverywhere you go…

Right, so this is a thing I do every Christmas. Granted, I’m usually doing it from the comfort of my own home or a toasty coffee shop someplace, but this year I find myself typing away amidst a heated debate over the economic and infrastructural viability of electric vehicles by 2030. What can I say, my family know to get into the festive spirit (I give it 5 minutes before Mumma B throws in the inevitable “but where will I be able to have a sit down coffee?” into the mix).

In between lockdowns, childhood-living throwbacks (I’m now 28…) and a cat that’s perpetually shoving her bum in my face, I’ve managed to squeeze in a couple of socially distanced trips out and about.

Now, I wasn’t too sure if I’d find the same level of high-quality merchandise as in previous years but oh no, the British high street really has not disappointed! With shops in England not reopening until 2nd December (after a month of enforced closure), I’ve come back into a world where it literally feels like a Christmas bomb has gone off.

I’ve also been busy celebrating my annual fire and cake day.

All things considered, this 2020 Christmas post is gonna make like it’s nature-sake and try and pull together something half-decent in the face of something totally pants.

2020 Christmas, The Cobbled Together Edit

(The cat made me do it.)

First, this inspired piece:

Hmm, getting disturbing flashbacks from my childhood. Can’t begin to think why…

Anyway, with that surreal moment out of the way, the only way is up! Mind, this woman would probably disagree; in her life things in life aren’t going up at all…

…but then she’s trapped in a TV box selling screen sponges. Unsurprising spoilers, I watched her try to sell me one for far too long.

Thing is, often there’s no point in trying to pitch TV channel cr*p to me. Oh no, this lady likes her products to come via the far East. Why? Well for one significantly cheaper and two, I like the way they tell you straight exactly what it is you’re buying.

For the benefit of doubt, it’s an electrical facial cleansing device.

Facial Cleansing Brush Devices Electric Face Cleanser Silicone Waterproof Vibrating  Face Skin Pore Deep Washing Massage Brush|Powered Facial Cleansing Devices|  - AliExpress

Still waiting on getting the same levels of satisfaction as this woman (“I’ll have what she’s having”).

Reindeers seem to be in this season (I know, proper shocker there) and with it there are plenty of very tasteful items one can buy. Take for example this ornament, with bothersome proportions.

I wondered whether it was in part due to its country of manufacture, Mumma B had a slight go at me and I shoved the ornament in her face. Now, it’s debatable whether the strength of my argument won out, or the aggression of me shoving a lump of metal into her personal space, but she caved in and agreed with me.

You can also buy his and hers reindeer decorations, with his a little more battle worn than hers.

Moral of the story? Don’t try it on with identical twins, even if you are all glitter and sparkles.

More joy for these two…

At £130 each, I think we best leave them to it. Don’t see either of them heading off anytime soon.

I decided a little while back to turn a blind eye to certain things (around the time I discovered even the social distancing signs couldn’t keep a social distance).

Either way, this guy isn’t taking any chances.

Elastic strap over the eye is a new one but can’t say I blame them. It’s a look.

If you ask me, these puddings on legs should exercise social distancing every year. They may look cute, but with faces like that you just know they’re the type to feature in a Christmas-themed slasher movie.

Whoops! Accidental selfie!

At least I’m sticking to the rules…oh hey! There’s a mystic snail over here! Tell me something insightful mystic snail.

So, unsurprisingly I’d been around the shops for a little while by this point and it was starting to show. Also no closer to discovering that special something for the ones I love (the mystic snail was no help at all).

(“Ma! They’ve got oven gloves!”)

So I decided to stop out for another hot drink. Well, it had been an hour since the last one and this coffee shop was incredibly accommodating of the need to keep people a safe distance apart.

I tell you what, I could get very used to this idea of having a whole coffee shop to myself.

Five trillion hours later, I’d consumed enough caffeine to bust moves like this:

Taking the time out reminded me the true spirit of the festive season. That’s right, religious toast.

I tried explaining the Christmas story to Squeak the cat, but again I think the sentiment was somewhat lost on her.

“What the fudge y’all doing with these fabric samples anyway?”

Still, better reaction than her sulky brother, who seems to think he’s the main present this year.

Back to present shopping, this:

Exactly, couldn’t think of a tag line either.

Also, I’m pretty sure I had a dream featuring this.

Christmas polar bear in a chimney(?), drinking flashing beer and yelling at me “SWITCH ON MY LIGHTS!”? Yep, seems pretty normal to me. About as normal as being confronted with this whilst stood in the till point queue.

Hi there…can I help you with something? (Why isn’t this queue moving quicker already?)

If there’s one thing I’ve come across in recent weeks that perfectly sums up the sentiment around this year, it’s this ornament:

Yep, it has certainly been different to the usual, but it’s time to rocket 2020 up into the clouds and into space. When all is said and done, no one will ever want to remember or revisit this year, let alone hang it on their trees. I mean, what nutter would be seen dead buying up quantities of these?

“Mum! Do you think these are included in the three for two offer?”

Cheeky Bennett Bonus!

Over the course of writing this post, Squeak the cat formed a strong liking of the Bongo Cat YouTube channel. As cute as this sounds, her wanting a front row seat created a number of challenges in terms of the whole getting anything done.

Bongo Cat Beebo (channel creator) or BTS, if you are listening my cat wanted me to say she’s a massive fan.

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This isn’t a sponsored post. Support an unpaid writer like me by donating to my funding page: Buy Me A Coffee

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The Perils of Retail Therapy

A memo to the wise; if you do too much of this:

…you’ll end up with an ankle looking like this:

Ok, granted I wasn’t posing in that exact same fashion when my ankle went, but when it started to ache during a shopping trip I decided to ignore the pain and carry on walking on it. I’d decided to venture to the fair Welsh capital of Cardiff and I didn’t want to turn back before I’d even got properly stuck into my needed dose of retail therapy.

As well as the blinking obvious (walking on a duff ankle) there were other things I didn’t fully factor in whilst hobbling around the city centre on a Sunday in mid-late October. These ‘things’ feel into three categories:

  1. The impact of a particularly bad cold virus.
  2. Excitable children on school holidays, pumped up on sugar and in want of Halloween ‘stuff’.
  3. Super eager women, pumped up on caffeine and hell-bent on obtaining Christmas wares before anyone else.

The result was pure shopping chaos, particularly when I became caught up in the shopping centre at peak time. Quickly I found myself bent and morphed into shapes usually reserved only for the most brutal of Twister games. Grunting the pain away like a reindeer on Christmas Eve, I kept my eyes straight and aimed my cold-filled, Rudolf Red, nose towards the nearest exit.

Out of nowhere they came. Turning out of a shop and charging toward me at speed came a group of teenage girls. Dressed in clothes that liberated their pre-pubescent figures, the young women clutched their semi-empty milkshakes in one hand with a firmness that was nearly as strong as their grip on the pre-ripped, bloodied, shirts that were slung over their backs.

“We’ve got the dead look covered this year girls!” One of the party exclaimed triumphantly, as she pored over a small bag of purchased make up. The others nodded in mild agreement, slupping on their milkshakes and scrolling through void blocks of information. At the command of their leader, the group circulated around a black screen to appease the tiny dot before them. The first snap failing to satisfy, they posed for another photo, and another. The look of death had a time and a place, and as far as the camera holder was concerned Snapchat wasn’t one of them.

Upon realising that my collision with the party was both inevitable and likely to write off my foot (for which I felt quite sure the girls lacked any sympathetic insurance), I decided to change my path. Like a Shakespearian character my persona as flipped into a Hellish beast as I gritted my teeth and turned on the sore ankle to walk around the female cluster.

As I hobbled on, dragging my bad leg behind me, I saw bitter sweet irony reflected in the eyes of all the ghoul clad staff who regarded me with confusion and unease. Coffee stands decorated with bloodied bandages and skulls, shops festooned with beaming figurines and tinsel, each environment looked down at me with a soulless attitude that clung onto those who dwelled beneath. Of all the shopper types it was only the husbands and boyfriends that took the crown for being more out of place than I. Loaded like a Biblical Donkey, acting like a Hollywood Zombie, the men of the city took pity and avoided my half dead shape, whilst their respective partners walked in window-display bedazzlement across my path. I gave a half smile of encouragement to these brave men and pressed onwards.

It was a circular pattern of discomfort and disinterest that punctuated the day. The simple pleasures; the reading of a book undisturbed, discovering a nicely styled boot, these glimmers of joy were hard won and so easily lost. A noisy patron in the neighbouring seat, a swollen foot rebelling against a test environment. A reminder perhaps that no one can be a God in the world of the Godless. This thought whispered around my brain in mockery as I slowly staggered towards the bus station. A hissing that ended with the slamming of doors and screeching of the brakes as I departed the capital once again for English soil.

Life, sore ankles and seasonal shoppers; nothing lasts forever.