Being awake at midnight isn’t an irregular occurrence for me, but last night it was particularly special because I got to turn over my calendar onto the last month of the year, which excited me because the picture is of a bowl of jelly babies and I am a big child. December is my favourite month of the year by far, and 1st December always gets me very excited. I ran around school today telling everyone that it’s twenty two days until my birthday.
All the good stuff comes in December. We, of course, have the birthday of Noa, but we also have the birthday of Jesus, who is a somewhat more significant international figure. There’s also the end of term, really lovely cold frost on the windscreen of the car in the morning, New Years Eve, Channuka, and the way your breath twists up into the air in smoky curls. When you walk along the Southbank, there are grills of roast chestnuts that are so hot when you buy them you have to blow on each one for a good two minutes. We get Christmas television (It’s a Wonderful Life, Love Actually, A Christmas Carol, The Holiday, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, not to mention the Doctor Who Christmas special). Plus my winter treat every year is a trip to the ballet with my grandma. This year we’re doing The Nutcracker by the English National Ballet, and I am ridiculously excited. Last year we saw Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella, and it was magnificent.
One of my favourite things about December is that it is the month of sparkles. Each year, on the roundabout at Highbury Corner, the trees are draped with strings of little white stars, and as I walk past they look like star dust has fallen on them. Up and down Oxford Street, great glittering decorations dangle from shop to shop, and every window display is filled with Fair Isle sweaters and candy canes and stockings and enormous sparkly trees. The Hamleys window display is always particularly spectacular at this time of year, as are Fortnum and Mason’s, Selfridges’, and Harrods’.
And to top it all off, December is the only month of the year in which I allow myself to listen to Christmas music, including that giant among Christmas songs known as Fairytale of New York, and possibly the most excellent moment of my day was when I sat down on the bus on my way to school and clicked on that title in my iPod. The music is just sublime and the Pogues are geniuses.
A famous December motto is “In December, keep yourself warm and sleep”. I totally disagree with this. I think that in December we should all keep warm and go outside and soak up the cold air. Go for a long walk on the Heath and be healthy and bright. The ponds freeze over, the sky is white, and the robin redbreasts are out. Wear thick woolly gloves and walking boots, and go to Kenwood House afterwards for hot chocolate. Feel the winter spirit. It’s the best time of the year.
Some extra stuff . . .
Today my lovely friend Saachi Sen released a song, Heal, because she is splendid. Click on her name to buy it on Amazon.
Plus, the marvellous Alex Day wants a Christmas no. 1. Click on his name to hear his song Forever Yours.