12/3/2012 11:04 AM
By Paul Willgoss
I’m a scrooge… I don’t do Christmas, I don’t like the fake jollity and false bonhomie. I find most of the traditions mere marketing tools to get me to part with my money.
I won’t be having turkey. I don’t even send Xmas cards.
However, I am in the work pantomime, a musical comedy with my co-workers—I’m Ivanhoe, a knight returning from the Crusades just in time to save my own true love, kill the Big Bad Wolf and generally run around in a cape with a sword in hand.
I’m also helping take more than a hundred people—kids with heart conditions and their families—to see Santa, stroke Rudolph and generally have a nice time for a couple of days.
My desk will be festooned with a Christmas tree and baubles, and if you blink you may see me in a cheesy Christmas hat.
So why am I really a scrooge?
Time is the most precious gift I have to give. It’s also limited, and those of us with any chronic condition know that better than most. If I spend a morning sending Xmas cards, it’s a morning I’m not doing something else—and that something else could help more people than an individual getting a piece of card with a red-breasted robin on it…
The money I save from not sending cards gets put into a charity collection at work, normally for building toilets in countries without sewerage or for returning veterans or for 100 and 1 causes that need every penny they can get.
So for me Christmas Day is that rarest of things, a day off—no day job, no charity activity, a few friends to call and swap tales of the year, a long soak in the bath and a run. A small but very good dinner and my feet up in front of the TV with a good book—only really watching the UK’s version of Dancing with the Stars.
Oh yes, there is a run in the middle of my day off. And I’m hoping by then to be building up for my first runs of 2013—the first is a 10 km off-road, up and down a hill in January… at night. Given that since the Ultra-marathon I’ve not run much more than 5 km, and almost all on the flat, I need to pick my feet up and get going again.
The total volume challenge for 2012 was to run 2,012 km—about 1,250 miles. And that’s done, and passed, and my job now is to not eat too much over the festive season, not get injured, and start building for next year’s madness—100 miles in 3.5 days.
So my friends—Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays, have a Wonderful Winterval—do whatever floats your boat, stay healthy, have fun and don’t worry if you don’t feel Christmasy, I won’t be… and I’ll be having fun anyway :)
Marathon runner, GUCH (Grown Up with Congenital Heart Disease), long-distance hiker, charity trustee, patient advocate and whisky lover—Paul Willgoss is all of these and more. A member of the Most Honourable Order of the British Empire, his efforts both in front and behind the scenes for those with congenital heart defects have been recognized at the highest levels in his native U.K.
Copyright ©2012 ACHA