As I was walking down the cliff road before Halloween, I caught a purple twinkle out of he corner of my eye. I tore myself away from my near-constant search for fins on the horizon (I have actually seen something three and a half times) and I was suddenly looking at Christmas. One of the seafront hotels – a very nice one, as it happens, which looks terrible online but is actually great – had flashing stars stuck to its walls, and all of the palm trees in the driveway were full of fairy lights. I’ve always wondered what Christmas in Miami would look like. Now I basically know. Apart from all the mizzle.
A coach was parked in the road outside the hotel, every window festooned with ratty-looking silver tinsel. The windscreen was covered with paper snowflakes.
I thought somebody was a bit too keen, but I work in retail, and we’ve been in Christmas mode since August, so I decided I was being harsh.
I’ve since found out that the recent for all of the premature decorating is that Christmas comes early for the elderly. The Turkey and Tinsel break is one of OAP-dom’s best kept secrets.
Every year, after the summer holidays are over but before the leaves have even changed colour, the nation’s pensioners get on coaches with their friends and head to low-to-mid priced hotels throughout the countryside. They eat Christmas dinner, snack on mince pies, and enjoy a “traditional festive atmosphere”, which I assume means ‘enough wine to run a small pub for a night’.
When I found out what was happening in that hotel I couldn’t believe it. But it made sense. I’ve been seeing coaches decked with boughs of holly for weeks now. I assumed there was something sad going on. Maybe it was something a bit make-a-wish-y. I didn’t like to question it.
But this is what happens when nobody questions things. Old people drive off to the seaside in party buses and get sloshed on mulled wine two months early. It’s no wonder the queen doesn’t mind being filmed going to church on Christmas day. She’s probably already hit up every Turkey and Tinsel weekend from Cornwall to Scotland.
I can’t believe I never knew about this before.
I’m so jealous.