Here we are then - less than two weeks to go till Christmas and here at Dobson and Surrey, it's a time for some quiet contemplation and reflection. Mainly i'm reflecting on how i'm going to write something different to last years blog, which by my own admission was rather good.
So, in the words of Sia's new and vaguely sinisterly titled Christmas song "Santa's Coming For Us" - "Ayetsortgeddin shortanohotchocoled, filsthi earringchristmas tearducts to, pickerminny onchristmastweets solowonly, the joy this timeout brings to you".
Frankly, at any other time of year, this would be seen as unintelligible gibberish, but not now. Not at Christmas. For now is the time of peace and harmony, of calm and of thinking of others.
Or at least that's what we hope for. The reality differs slightly - effing and jeffing at all and sundry as we fight our way to the shops through the roadworks, fight our way into car parks in the vague and unrealistic hope that we might just get parked this side of Whit Week, fight our way into shops, battling those insufferable people who whilst walking three abreast in front of you in shopping centres, just suddenly STOP FOR NO APPARENT REASON, fight to get the presents we've been tasked to get (if they have any left in stock) and then the card payment machine goes belly up.
As we walk back to our car, we notice that the one item we've managed to secure after 8 hours of shopping has 20% off in nearly every shop we see on our way back to the car (or they would if they had any in stock...) and as soon as we've got to the car park and paid the obscene amount of parking charges and been followed back to our car by seven other drivers who are equally as desperate to get parked to serve their Christmas community service, we then fight our way home back through said roadworks to our loved ones.
Who then tell us that they've changed their mind about the present you've just bought and would like something else instead...
Again, at any other time of year, the above may come across as a semi-autobiographical and bitter rant by someone who's emotionally troubled. Not now though. It's Christmas.
(Let's not talk about Christmas Works "Do's" and Black Eye Friday, the fact that we've been hearing Band Aid since September, that with an inch of snow, anywhere south of Gateshead shuts down, with the media proclaiming "SNOWBOMB!" or "BLACK ICE MONDAY!!!" as it'll only get me, sorry, them, going again).
So at Dobson and Surrey, in the run up to Christmas, we'd like to suggest you do the following; instead of the rat race of shopping, take your family for a walk, go to a Christmas market, go to Church (if your proclivities lie in that direction) or even just sit at home, with your family and enjoy each other's company and good spirit.
Spend the Christmas Holidays in your pyjamas watching the Christmas films with the kids (or by yourself, no shame in that) and revel in the fact that you get it - you understand what the true meaning of Christmas is. Friends and family, being together and sharing their love for each other.
In the meantime, i'm just popping to the shops as i've a few last minute things to buy, the Boxing Day sales have started early so there's money off and the roads and car parks are surprisingly quiet for this time of year...
From all of us here at Dobson and Surrey, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a very peaceful and prosperous New Year.