It’s that time of year again! Genuinely can’t believe Christmas is just around the corner and we’re heading for the end of another decade.
Regular readers may know that I harbour deep suspicions about December! It’s a ‘snakes and ladders’ month in which you believe day on day that you’re making progress in your Christmas preparations only to find there’s a sudden whoosh, it’s arrived and you’re nowhere near ready. It’s the calendar equivalent of a huge water slide in which the days of advent are spent flailing hopelessly, out of control, being carried at speed towards an immovable goal, with very little time to think.
Parents and grandparents alike face the prospect of 19 nativity plays, at least 12 carol concerts, a handful of fancy dress/Christmas jumper days (requiring panic buying or extreme knitting) and a surfeit of mince pies and mulled wine.
There’ll be the office Christmas do, and a cluster of social invites from people who mistakenly believe that anyone has the TIME for any such activities in December.
Ranty ranty, festive rant! I’m just waiting for Santa to get with the programme and to stop limiting himself to gift delivery, which, let’s be honest, Amazon and most online stores do just as well and efficiently without the need to dress up. The gap in the market Santa dear, is to deploy some of your backstage crew to help with the cooking, cleaning and pantry checks. A spot of decorating and grouting wouldn’t go amiss either.
But if Christmas is the bridezilla of the year; the time consuming, attention seeking prima donna, New Year is the sulky distant cousin who only got invited to the evening do.
I can never quite work out whether it’s a happy or a sad occasion? Auld Lang Syne is heart wrenching, however bouncily sung, but a new year reminds us that we’re lucky to still be here and hope for new beginnings.
Many of us have welcomed in milestone years. 2000 was a biggy and not only because of y2k (Say what?) Y2k was a numeronym which referred to the Millenium bug which was feared would mess up all our technology overnight by reverting back to the year 1900 instead of going meekly into the 21st Century. It’s bad enough when your mobile phone doesn’t automatically switch between British Summer Time and Greenwich Mean time, but y2k threatened to cause worldwide chaos. It didn’t happen but it was worth worrying about at the time.
Depending on your age, 1999 was important too. For years, at the behest of the artist formerly known as Prince, we’d been partying like it was 1999 whilst having no idea what partying in 1999 might be like. But it sounded good, it sounded aspirational and I can’t have been the only one who was slightly disappointed to find that the year was rather unremarkable and distinctly lacking in parties of any hue.
Back in the day, when we used cheques to spend our money, a new year would mean a clutch of cancelled transactions as you put the wrong date in the box and had to rip it up. Schoolwork would always be headed by date and title and January emphasised the necessity for a competent eraser to correct errors. These days, we have very little reason to write out the date by hand, nor even on the computer thanks to autofill, so time slips by unnoticed.
This year however, the date clicks over from 2019, or two thousand and nineteen as I like to call it, to 2020. Try as I might (and believe me I have), I can’t think of anything else to call next year other than twenty twenty. Two thousand and twenty just doesn’t sound right, but twenty twenty sounds so… American!
I’ve tried consoling myself with the thought that the same must have happened in the 1900s. Early years would have been ‘in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and one/two’ but by 1920, everyone would have relaxed back to the easier ‘nineteen twenty’.
We had a taste of this with the London Olympics in 2012. Not only did the event have the most hideous logo known to mankind, which looked as though it was created using cut potatoes and poster paints, but my skin crawled every time I heard it referred to as Twenty Twelve. Not that I ever had much inclination to talk about it, but if I did, I was very specific in saying the ‘London Olympics, two thousand and twelve’.
So, I’ve held out this long. With the century coming of age, I know there’s no choice but I’m still sad to see the early and teen years disappear.
Maybe 2020 will improve our eyesight as the jokes on the internet suggest? We could certainly do with some clarity in our lives at the moment! And we should look to the future with hope and belief whatever we call it.
In the meantime, enjoy the dog days of two thousand and nineteen (I knew I could get another one in), have a wonderful Christmas and a lovely New Year.