Friday, December 24, 2010

An old bloke's memories of Christmas

Christmas is that funny time of year when we choose for the usual "natural" order of the way of things to be seen through the distorting mirrors of sentiment and holly. When people who go out of their way to avoid each other all year get together in the spirit of goodwill to all men to compare scary jumpers. And others stress themselves to the nines to get a bit of turkey on the Christmas plate.

We are no different. Most of my family lives nearby so it's fairly convenient to get together and - importantly - to be able to drift off and do our own things for an hour or two rather than getting too santaclaustrophobic.

The day, inevitably, starts with the rituals of opening the presents. This is the bit I like. I'm seriously not fussed about getting any presents myself (which winds people up no end), I like the giving bit for the opportunity to feel a bit smug about myself. I drift over late enough to have missed my niece's opening most of her presents, which isn't a deliberate avoidance, just the difference in time clocks between a nocturnal old bloke and a tiny tot. My presents will have been deposited with my parents and they'll have spent Christmas Eve stacking everybody's presents neatly just where anybody can accidentally knock them over and get them mixed up again. It's a tradition, we don't spoil it. The next half hour is a confusion of pass the parcel, Danger UXB and the conveyor belt round of The Generation Game. My dad will have shaken all the parcels to see if they rattle: we don't do the piece of Lego in an Oxo tin any more and all bottles are wrapped up to be bottle shaped.

My brother will have taken temperance wine with the clergy of several parishes and will be spending the morning with his Beano Book.

Being children of The Empire, before they knocked it down and turned it into the brutalist seventies slums of Hulme, we wave our Union Jacks during the Royal Speech and say things like: "King George's stammer's got better" and "Does Queen Mary know he's wearing that?" while wondering what's on the other channel.

Christmas dinner coincides with the slice of monarchy. Despite my protestations that I'm happy enough with a chip butty and please, please don't stress yourself out so much, it's always a full turkey and trimmings. These days my dad's on cooking duties and he does a seriously good job of it, better than I'd manage. And he gets himself dead worried about the whole business. Mind you, if I tried juggling all that lot I'd be a sobbing wreck in the corner of the kitchen.

And then we relax.

Have a good Christmas, everybody. Look after you and yours.


savannah said...

have a grand christmas, sugarpie! enjoy the traditions that make you smile and drink through the rest! xoxoxoxox

Anonymous said...

Sav has some good advice!

I hope Santa brings you a new stick.

Scarlet Blue said...

Merry Christmas!!!
I will be playing a weird game where you have to pull coloured sticks out of a tower... and not let it collapse.
It's fine. We play this every year, even though a couple of us are colour blind.

Pat said...

Good to know all this is still going on.
Happy Christmas and I hope 2011 will be better thank you expect:)

Lulu LaBonne said...

It sounds wonderful over at your place Kevin - have a great time and a fabulous 2011 xxx

fairyhedgehog said...

Hope you have a great time!

Gaw said...

Merry Christmas, Kevin. 'And then we relax,' is a nice bit of understatement having collapsed catatonic on the sofa.