It’s that time of year again! My tickets home are ordered, I’ve spotted the Coca Cola advert on TV, and I hear it’s snowing back up north (here in sunny Manch, the weather remains cold and grey as always).

It’s easy to get all hipster about Christmas and to focus exclusively on the negativity of the event. Commercialisation, consumption, corporations cynically using a religious festival for their own money-grubbing ends.

But y’know what? Screw it! I love Christmas, and I always have done! I’m not religious myself, but I love Christmas carols because that’s what we used to sing at the Academy, where everyone came together to sing the old classics for the Chrismas concert. I love the cold weather, the crunch of snow underfoot (or, if not that, the crisp snap of frozen grass beneath my feet on a chilly winter morning). I love getting together with my family, and catching up with them; these days much more important for me as I live a few hours’ train journey away. Working for a German company, I’ve grown to love the German Christmas Markets; I was fortunate enough to go to a genuine Weinachtenmarkt in Nurenburg once and, though again it was somewhat commercialised, it helped recapture some of the magic of Christmas I remembered from my childhood. Even the Christmas Markets here in Manchester are lovely and packed with continental food, produce and booze. It’s a warm, festive feeling, and it is quite awesome.

Have you guys got any local traditions, or imported traditions for Christmas? I’d love to hear about them!