If you spent Christmas on the sofa with your family, wearing a crinkled paper hat and holding a mug of mulled wine as you made your way through Downton, And Then There Were None and Sherlock, then you did the festive season properly.
I, on the other hand, managed to watch precisely no Christmas shows at all. Yes, I am an entertainment journalist glued to the small-screen for almost 12 months of the year, but I fail spectacularly at festive TV. Every year. And I know I’m not alone in this. For all the those who hold up the British tradition of ‘Christmas telly’, there are lots of others who end up watching it all in January instead.
It’s not that I deliberately avoid it — quite the opposite. As the final ever Downton began, my thoughts were with the Dowager, but I couldn’t actually see her because I was on the M40 on the way to my boyfriend’s family Christmas. We had meant to be in Chester well before Downton started – in time for dinner in fact – but an hour-and-a-half into the four-hour journey, we realised we (or possibly, I) had forgotten all the presents and had to turn back. Since that journey, Chris Rea’s hit single has taken on a more sinister meaning.
I failed on the Agatha Christie front, too. When And There There Were None started, I was holding a baby cousin of mine and didn’t think I ought to plague him with complex questions of justice and murder quite yet. Plus, the crying was somewhat lessening the greatness of Aidan Turner. As the rest of the good Christmas TV aired, there were just too many deaf relatives and loud children and arguments about whether the new Star Wars was actually good to facilitate easy viewing.
Throw in the arrival of my Polish grandparents, who can just about manage the phrase “Nice To Meet You”, and festive TV didn’t really get a look-in. After all, Sherlock would have been even more perplexing for them than for the rest of the nation, and my language skills aren’t developed enough to translate the plot of a show I struggle to comprehend in English.
But if you, like me, missed all the best Christmas TV, there is a silver lining to this problem. Because now I’m going to beat the January blues by catching up on all the good stuff I meant to watch in December. Rather than stare queasily at my bank statement or not go to the gym, I’ll be saying a final, slightly late goodbye to the Dowager and pondering what exactly is going on in Sherlock. Ok, so it might not have the warmth of yuletide family viewing, but at least it’ll be peaceful.
So as the bleak mid winter stretches before us, ’tis the season for sitting indoors and enjoying all the Christmas TV we never actually saw at Christmas.