The Bar Man, December 19, 2014: Festive cheer for you?

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Hurray! Christmas is here! There are all those special beers with added spices to try. Can’t you just taste the cloves! Or maybe I’ll have a mulled wine. Gosh, doesn’t that wonderful aroma hit you just as you walk in the pub? Then there are the festive Christmas meals. Isn’t it great to see the pubs full – all those people who come out especially for their once a year treat having such fun.

Maybe we will go on to the church for Midnight Mass with them, and take a moment to ponder the real meaning of the season’s celebrations. Perhaps on the way, we might meet some carol singers dressed in Victorian costume entrancing us with their beautiful renditions of all our old favourites.

Still, if we miss them, there are always the Christmas songs in the pub to cheer us up. Jingle Bells, White Christmas and that one about stopping the cavalry. Don’t we just love them? And I love the decorations! Have you seen the pump clip that looks like Father Christmas with a flashing red nose. I must have a pint of that. Maybe, when I open the presents from under the tree (shame about the weather in Denmark which has caused the prices to be so high for the 10th year in a row, but what the heck, it’s Christmas!) there will be a special beer gift set with a couple of bottles and a designer collector’s glass.

And do you know what is even better? Christmas lasts longer! It used to be two or three weeks of fun, but now it officially starts the day after bonfire night so we get two whole months! And it’s now truly inclusive! No longer is it just about reindeer, the penguins have been brought in from the cold!

Christmas. Is it just me or does it now last forever? All those irritating songs on the juke box when you go to the pub. Silent Night? I wish. If you stay at home you know that a couple of scamps will knock at the door, mumble the first line of Hark the Herald Angels sing, and demand money. When you arrive, the bar will be full and the once a year brigade will be in your favourite seat or confusing the barman by ordering Advocaat or mulled wine which makes the place smell like a (insert risqué simile).

When you do get served your favourite bitter has been replaced by some spiced concoction with a silly name or a flashing pump clip. Watch where you stand oryou will have your beer knocked over by drunken couples groping under the mistletoe.

Perhaps you are better off going out to buy presents on Black Friday. What’s that all about? We didn’t have that when I was a lad. Mind you there were no supermarkets to have punch ups in then. Maybe you will be lucky enough to find a beer drinker’s gift set, with a couple of bottles and a fancy glass in a box at twice the price as buying them separately.

And penguins? Father Christmas lives at the North Pole. You can even go on some overpriced trip to Lapland to visit him and freeze to death on a sledge pulled by reindeer passing wind. Penguins don’t live at the North Pole. Save yourself some hassle, and go and see Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen’s smoking elves and fake snow at the Belfry. Still, if you do make it through to Boxing Day, there will probably be some cheap Hot Cross Buns in the sale.

Merry Christmas/Bah Humbug. Delete as appropriate.