Christmas lights in Ronda
Christmas lights in Ronda normally go up in December

IT’S an extraordinary fact that while Christmas always falls on the same day, it gets earlier every year – even in Spain. Although that’s no fault of the Spanish who don’t get their decorations up and their belens out until December.

Every year from around mid-September, down here on the Costa, the first expat restaurateurs appear flourishing festive menus and urging booking without delay.

But in weather hot enough to wilt an ensalada tropical, who feels up to considering mulled wine, stuffed turkey, bacon-wrapped chipolatas and plum pudding (with homemade custard or brandy butter)?

Blame it on the summer visitors who come back to Spain in December and like to make their reservations early. (It’s nice to see they enjoy the ‘traditional’ local cuisine.)

Blame it on the TV. I like whiskers on kittens as well as the next man but if I hear the Aldi Christmas commercial just one more time I fear I’ll be within a whisker of turning into a serial kitten abuser.

Or blame it on the consumer society. Gibraltarians have been enjoying the twinkle of Christmas lights in Main Street since November 8th, London beat them to it on the first of this month while festive produce has hit the shops so early, M&S mince pies are past their sell-by date way before the 25th!

Today, Jamie Oliver is showing you how to turn your Halloween pumpkin into the starter for your festive 10-course dinner before the candle has gone out.

They’ll have to change the wording of The 12 Days of Christmas to: ‘On the Twelfth Week of Christmas my true love gave to me … the priority order form for a free range turkey (buy in September to assure December delivery)’.

Not even HRH Queen Elizabeth gets that kind of birthday build-up.  Although in publishing, too, you’re always ahead of the game. I wrote this article in October!

The average European travels 190 miles on five Christmas shopping trips, suffers three hangovers and gains 4lb in weight over Christmas, according to research by Visa, pretty scary on the medical front considering that it’s only one day …

That day will cost the average Brit a cool £796 p.p.this year. You could get a week of winter sunshine in Benidorm for that …

It certainly makes my flight tickets to New Zealand seem a lot more reasonable, despite the hassle to get them (I won’t bore you with the detail but savvy travel agents are an endangered species and flight comparison sites tell lies).

I’m having two Christmases this year – one in Spain and one Down Under. Although as New Zealand’s in the Commonwealth, Santa gets there early too.

I’ve already put an All Black on my wish list but, failing that, I’d like to order a Grow Your Own Boyfriend, an adult ‘toy’ featured in the last issue of Olive Press.

I like the one I’ve got but a back-up might come in handy, especially as the packaging claims: ‘Mr Right Grows Six Times his Size in Water’.

No hard feelings Dave but I’m told November sea temperatures are still pretty icy in New Zealand!

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