You suggested it at the away day back in Summer, the midst of the heat wave, when to think of wool seemed an act of pure masochism. Stu claimed the idea as his own, then the others got on board.
For weeks you’ve been preparing: setting aside spreadsheets to craft paperchains. Hanging strings of cards no one has written in. Upending the shredder. Stu makes a poster on Photoshop: Mary and Joseph getting turned away at the inn. Should have gone to Jacksons, it says.
Each of you has kept your jumper secret. You tucked them in the backs of drawers and closets. Leagues of silver reindeer, dancing snowmen and Disney princesses have waited, imagining quick spreading grins. Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal! Everyone is elevated by knitwear.
When the day comes you barely want to unwrap it. But you’re greeted with squeals of delight. Stu throws an arm around you and does a thumbs up while Cathy takes an instagram. There’s Noddy Holder on the radio and mulled wine in the microwave.
Later, you’ll close up early, go for curry at the place with the good pink coconut stuff. This should be a new tradition, you’ll say, and everyone will agree.
Most days, you tell white lies on tinder. Dread the question in the pub. No one invites an estate agent to a dinner party.
But now you have tinsel in your hair. Stu has a musical tie. Cathy is valuing properties based on their chimney girth. Glitter is spawning like a festive skin disease.
There are mince pie crumbs in the particulars.
Amber Massie-Blomfield usually writes creative nonfiction. Her first book, Twenty Theatres to See Before You Die (Penned in the Margins, May 2018), received the Society of Authors’ Michael Meyer Award; Gladstone Library‘s political writer-in-residence prize 2019 and was shortlisted for the 2019 Theatre Book Prize. ambermassieblomfield.com | @ambermb