2023 has so far been characterised by Men Who Don't Understand What A Gift Receipt Is which has been tedious (no, you can't get a cash refund with a gift receipt, yes you have had to take time to drive here, it has cost you in petrol and car parking, so maybe use some of that time to phone, email, google, or even think before doing it again, and no it's very much on you, not us, that you wasted your time). My current New Year's resolution is not to say any of that out loud to a customer while they get increasingly aggressive towards my 20-year-old colleagues who I'm assuming they think they can bully into submission.
There is a top ten book list coming but I've spent most of today taking down my Christmas tree - the room feels very empty and dark without it and safely stowing all its treasures safely until December comes around again. I've also made a point of keeping all my Christmas and birthday cards this year. I've been keeping nice ones for ages, and started putting them out again a couple of years ago, something people can be weird about. I've been told it's cheating and that I don't have that many friends. Both seem like an overreaction.
I started keeping cards that were handmade, prints of the sender's original artwork, or otherwise special, but last year some of them had replies to wedding invitations in, they all got bundled up and I only sorted them out properly in early December when I really thought about what the pile in the corner of the bookshelf was. Amongst them was a card I might not normally have bothered to keep, there was nothing special about it apart from the sender, who had just died when I found it.
That card has sat next to my desk for the last month and will come out again next year. It's a small thing to keep but a powerful reminder of somebody who was an important part of my life for more than 40 years. Inevitably there will be other losses in the future but I find the idea of Christmas being a time I can bring out those small tokens of affection and tradition deeply comforting.
Otherwise I'm hoping to read more books this year, review more here and elsewhere, and make sure to prioritise the people who matter to me. I'll be 50 by this time next year, and right now it feels like there's nothing more precious than the time I have with the people I like - and nothing less worth spending time on than being polite to idiots who don't understand gift receipts or manners.
Happy New Year.