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December. You know the story. Your schedule is chockablock and the good times are rolling. A good percentage of anyone's build up to Christmas is spent under the influence of alcohol, because, let's face it, there's no booze-up like a booze-up in a worryingly flammable Rudolph jumper.
You'll already have planned a work do, a do with pals and a do with your housemates from uni. Throw in that other set of mates and the long trip out with the other half's friends and you'll realise that each December weekend is guaranteed a sweaty Pogues singalong and a festive kebab.
The issue, of course, is how to afford this long list of excursions. Getting boozy costs the earth nowadays and when you factor in your contribution to the turkey and the cost of your nan's new slippers, December actually becomes a financial shit-fest.
On average, one pint in London will cost you £4.20. That's 420 English pence, which converts roughly to a complete fucking liberty. The north of England isn't exempt from this ale-based act of treachery, either, with the cost of the amber nectar rising steeply this year to an average of £3.30 in Yorkshire.
It's enough to make you consider drastic action. Those Aldi stubbies are quite literally cheaper than water, but we all know that they're basically a violent hangover in a bottle. Ambition raised, a desperate Google search confirms that beer prices in Ukraine average out at just 49p a pint, and while things tend to get a bit cold and fighty out there at this time of year, it might be preferable to the shame of ploughing back a £5 Fosters. There's always the option of clubbing together in order to buy your own boozer, of course, but with financial frigidity the aim of the game here, ownership of The Queen's Head might turn out to be a little short-sighted.
How about this garden shed mini-brewery by Tiger Sheds and Northern Monk Brew Company as a back-up option? It might not quite be the same as a night out but it turfs out your very own brew for just 45p a pint. That's cheaper than a swift one in Kiev and comes without the black eye. You could stand at the bar with a beer cloth over your shoulder, hand out free mince pies and ban that fucking painful Mariah Carey song.
But let's face it, you're on the clock here, outdoor beer gardens are perhaps a better fit for the summer and time is of the essence. It's almost - almost - enough to make you reconsider that questionable Jagerbomb o'clock, go home and save for the Tiger Shed. Or the Queen's Head. So much to drink and so little cash.
New Year's Eve may end up becoming something of a disaster, of course, and the lavish night out you promised the significant other in October might well descend into a midnight cuddle at Yates, but she'll understand.
The fact is, you'll make it work. You always do. Those Christmas markets aren't going to sit in themselves swigging from a stein and singing football songs, and the rule is that you never, ever bail on a Christmas do. There is no shame in admitting to the fact your nan will bung you a few quid and if worst comes to worst, well, you pre-drink yourself senseless.
'Tis the season to get shamefully lashed. Swill long, swill hard and have a merry Christmas session season.
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