We’re still in the first half of November and already I’m sick of the Yuletide hype and expectation. Who actually cares about Christmas until December? Why take the fun out of Santa by making everyone think it takes at least three months to plan a roast turkey and buy a few gifts? GET A LIFE.
I, for one, can think of a billion better things to do in November. I might not have the funds to flee the madness and falling temperatures (and neither will you if you think you have to spend that much on presents) but I see no reason to forsake all the treasures on my doorstep and make a beeline for the local shopping centre. November, as much as any month of the year, is for heading to the beach.
I’m not some hardened surfer type who needs to don a wetsuit when my fingers are getting frostbite. In fact I haven’t been in the sea for weeks. But my two boys and I have been on, or by, the beach every day since festive chocolates hit the supermarket aisles. We’ve been sandblasted, rained on, dipped our feet in the waves and cast off our winter woollies in balmy t-shirt weather.
Now I’m sure my boys are still on their way to a memorable Christmas. But that’s just a single day. And all of these days leading up to it (I’m not going to count them, but it’s literally months) they are building all sorts of other memories much more vital to their character development and health: rolling down sand dunes, spotting seals, clambering up rock stacks, being soaked by the shore dump, eating picnics by the lighthouse and biking along the coast path.
When we were throwing seaweed and pebbles into the sea on Falmouth’s Gyllyngvase Beach last Sunday there must have been at least 30 people in the water. Without wetsuits! And with the sun shining and very little sea breeze it was tempting to join them. How much fun were they having – hooting, splashing, singing – compared to the stressed weekend shoppers?
So surfers, sea swimmers and beach goers, this November I salute you. But all of you families frantically scouring the shelves for a festive bargain, I urge you to get a life. And if you can’t tear yourself away from the shopping centre for your own sake, do it for the sake of your children.