Claire Smith: I’ve the spirit … to sleep through the festive season

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ACCORDING to the brilliantly creative PR team at Debenhams December 14 is “fabulous Friday” – when women across the land book themselves in for pre-Christmas beauty treatments.

When I say “creative” it is not a back-handed compliment. The PR team do make things up – but with flair – being responsible for such fluffy works of genius as, “the eyebrow map of great Britain” and “personal shopping for three-year- olds.” In the latest missive Debenhams beauty director, Sara Stern, says: “The tree is dressed, presents wrapped and the house is decorated –now it’s time for the most important transformation of all.”

My house is decorated with empty wine bottles and sweet wrappers and my tree is still happily standing in a forest – but I did get into the spirit of the season this week by sneaking into the Guerlain spa in the Caledonian for a full three hours of massage and facial treatments.

When I floated back to the office, wafting great clouds of perfume, one of my esteemed colleagues on the business desk emailed me Julie Burchill’s definitive rant about “the cult of pampering”.

“Pampering,” says la Burchill: “is one of the great cons of modern times, a new religion of narcissism, selling love to the loveless and touch to the lonely. Like sweet-smelling zombies, pamper junkies live a half-life where the body is a temple, but no-one’s home.”

Wow. Trust the business desk to slap me when I feel vulnerable. But Burchill is right in one respect. This pampering has left me feeling distinctly sleepy.

I’m one of these people who struggles with the darkness. These long nights and short days bring out the urge to hibernate. And my aversion to the gloom has been given a new edge by watching The Killing – where serial murderers stalk endless Scandanavian nights.

There may be fairy lights in windows and swarms around bars and happy office parties in the city centre, but in this darkest week I find the urge to sleep almost overwhelming. Even if there is a killer on the loose.