Happy New Year, onesie and all…

Image of Robert Shrimsley

Christmas passed without anyone buying me a onesie. It may have been the must-have present for 2012, but no one I know seemed to think I needed to have the all-in-one nightwear. And I look so dashing in long johns.

Anyway, the holiday is over and we are back now. How was it for you? Would you have liked another week or are you secretly glad to return to work? Did you hunger for the bracing crush on the Tube or the numbing congestion on the roads which signal that the patient has been roused from its clinically induced Christmas coma?

Not that the break wasn’t great – the time with the wife and spawn and the chance to relive the 50 greatest moments from the 2012 Olympics. I must have come across an Olympic rehash at least five times during my channel surfing, so actually I had about 250 greatest moments to choose from. Although for many, just managing to get tickets off the website was something of a highlight.

With the plethora of other TV compilations it was possible to get confused. I’m sure I saw James Stewart running in the 100m dressed in a suit and tie and yelling “Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!”, but perhaps that was my 50 best Christmas movies. Either way, I’m ranked out. I have ordered my musicals, relived the news and reviewed my year. I’ve listened to the Queen and the inevitable guest editors on the Today programme, stuffed my face with comfort food, visited the cinema and meandered along deserted high streets. I got out of London, and even managed to make the spawn go for walks on Dartmoor. (It’s the Tors; children can’t see the point of going for a walk, but tell them you are climbing to the top of that hill and suddenly there’s a purpose.)

We have read through the selected titbits of news in those ghastly round-robin newsletters that acquaintances have taken to including in Christmas cards, just in case you missed the posts on Facebook; Jonathan got into UCLA; Cynthia came third in a showjumping event (did Cynthia have a horse? Or is this a new sport?); Cousin Jane is recovering from her hip operation. (Do we know Cousin Jane? In fact, do we know you?)

We emptied our pockets at the Winter Wonderland, the eye-wateringly expensive themed funfair in London’s Hyde Park and lamented the gap between ourselves and Torvill and Dean as we hobbled across the ice in skates that made our feet ache within 15 minutes, the light dusting of ice on our trousers and tops growing ever heavier with each incomplete circuit of the rink. We saw the Christmas movies, returned the unwanted presents and wasted at least a day in a shopping centre looking at the reductions on items we didn’t actually want.

It’s been lovely to slump back into the comfortable clothes of life. How appropriate then that a onesie – well, aside from an iPad mini – topped so many gift lists. For Christmas, if it goes well, is the onesie of holidays: unsophisticated, informal, comfortable. It speaks to a desire to regress and avoid the sharp edges of life. In truth, even if someone had bought me a onesie, I’m not sure I could have brought myself to wear it. You can see why people are attracted to the all-in-one comfort, but I’ve been out of romper suits for some time now and I’m not planning to return to them until the onset of senility.

So yes, it was a good break and a welcome week of atrophy, but now it is time to dust off the nostalgia, the inactivity and comfort that creep up on you like moss. I’ve spent a week in a metaphorical onesie and it was jolly comfortable. But it’s not a long-term clothing solution; sooner or later you have to go back to the real world. One does see photographs of celebrities donning onesies, but they amply demonstrate the point. If even Brad Pitt looks a dork, how do you think they work for you?

The break is over and it is time to get back into work attire. Family, leisure, lie-ins, good food and nice walks – it’s all very well for a while, but you wouldn’t want to live that way.


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