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Happy Knox Year!

EDINBURGH is marketing its Hogmanay party as a great Presbyterian event.

The publicity goes: "Did you know that the magical celebrations are actually a result of the Scottish Reformation?"

John Knox and his austere Protestant pals kicked Christmas into touch because it reeked of Rome. The natives poured all their celebratory energies into ancient pagan festivals to welcome in the new year.

So, this year I'm having a Calvinist Christmas (just another working day). And a rootin, tootin, sing-along-a-John-Knox Hogmanay. In a suitably Presbyterian way.

I'll be round the houses offering a very small nip served from the screw cap of my whisky bottle. I'm not much of a whisky drinker so I hope the neebors have got in plenty of claret (a fine Scots tradition) to go with the steak pie.

I will take a doggie bag to collect interesting varieties of shortbread for my collection. Also black bun, quartered oranges, and walnuts. I may be confusing Hogmanay with Halloween.

Music is an essential ingredient of New Year fun. With my Now That's What I Call Hogmanay long-playing disc downloaded to MP3 player, we can switch off that Jools Holland fellow on the telly and have proper tunes.

To be a welcome first-footer, I should ideally be a bit taller and darker. I have a pair of Cuban heel boots somewhere to help with stature. Some Grecian 2000 from Boots the chemist should sort the grizzled appearance, assuming Grecian 2000 has not been withdrawn from the market for being beyond its sell-by date.

Hogmanay festivities traditionally lasted for days on end. So stay over and enjoy the neebors' hospitality. Think of the money saved on food and heating your house. If you're still there on Burns nicht you may have overstayed your welcome.

As Knox never said to Calvin, a guid New Year to yin and a'.

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