Christmas, is it not a time for pure celebration, frivolity, hilarity, good will to all men, hugs and kisses and thoughts of peace?
In short not to my family NO!
In fact my family at Christmas time would make Victor Meldrew seem like the life and soul of the party!
Every year they my “brethren” “treat”me to the twelve day’s of Christmas as only they could supply. Instead of goodwill to all men I get “Don’t answer it, I expect it’s those bloody carol singers again”. Instead of frivolity and laughter I get “ I shouldn’t drink that stuff after a big meal it’ll probably give you the shits”. Instead of hilarity I get “Oh God not the bloody Wizzard Of Oz AGAIN (tut tut) they put that on every single year that and John Wayne in Stagecoach” and finally any thought’s of peace are quickly dispelled as my Dad spends Boxing Day afternoon watching old war films and shreeking with delight when the killing starts. “That’s what I’d like to do to the little toerags round here that keep vandalising everything.” I wouldn’t mess about I tell you, I’d shoot the bastards”. Nothing like being touched by the Christmas spirit is there!
The then usually follows a five or ten minute lecture on the state of the law in this country today and how that Farmer Tony somebody went wrong because he didn’t shoot BOTH of the burglars that kept breaking into his farm. Then there is the unbridled joy of the “Big Day” and all the tradition and ceremony that goes with Christmas day.
This usually consists of at around 6.30am on Christmas morning my brother arriving with his son Sammy who can’t wait to get his hands on his presents.
Dishevelled, unshaven and a tad smelly you are forced to decend the stairs in your pyjamas for the five or ten second present giving ceremony. Barely concious you are expected to wish everyone a happy Christmas, give hugs and kisses and be the life and soul. After an hour, two cups of tea and having eaten bacon and eggs you are finally allowed to use the toilet and retire to bed once more your Christmas over.
What? Surely you didn’t dare to think that we might all wait until around teatime .When, after a lovely Christmas meal, we could all open the presents gathered under the tree as a family accompanied by the sound of Christmas carols?
You must be joking!
In my house we don’t even have a Christmas tree to put the presents under.
My Dad hates Christmas trees because “they get in the bloody way”, my Mum hates Christmas trees because “they drop pine needles everywhere” and my Nan just “hates bloody Christmas!”
Our family Christmas meal usually consists of my brother eating off a tray at his house, my Nan likewise at her house and me and my Mum eating some kind of festive platter while Dad has Cheese sandwiches and a jar of pickled onions sat in front of the telly at our house. From then after the rest of the afternoon is usually spent silently staring at the tv in the perishing cold as we have to have the back door open as the onions give Dad wind.
As far as Carol singing well I have got a cousin called Carol that lives in Hampden Park but wether or not she sings at Christmas I couldn’t tell you!
I sense you thinking that surely I exaggerate somewhat this unfestive of scenes and that really my home is one of decorations and tinsel. Well sadly I have to say that I exaggerate not. In fact the only decoratrions that I can ever remember at our house over the Christmas period being in 1995 when Dad redecorrated the downstairs loo as it was “the only time you get to do these jobs when you work”. Mum will not have a glint of tinsel in the house claiming she has “read all these books” about how it gathers dust and encourages all kind of dust mites. As for wine, any mention of alcohol will start Dad off about how all the drunken teenagers these days should be forced to do Military service. This will then be followed by 15 minutes of stories of how “when he was in the army” you had to learn discipline and how “if the Sargeant Major said jump you bloody well jumped!”
So do me a favour will you if you know where Victor Meldrew lives let me have his address I might just pop round his place this Christmas.
Merry Christmas to you all!