I shitting well love Christmas.
I realise this is by no means a bold claim. That’s like saying you love kittens or pyjamas. Or kittens in pyjamas. *Googles kittens in pyjamas*.
It is pretty much a given.
I don’t think I personally know anyone who doesn’t consider Christmas their favourite time of the year. Everyone just seems a bit brighter, a bit happier, a bit more pleased with their fellow man. Like the same way we all felt during the London 2012 olympics but with more artificial snow spray. (I would proper love it if Danny Boyle directed my Christmas one year).
Although on a recent trip to London I overheard two young women on the underground, discussing their Christmas plans. One was going to ask her Mum if she could be excused from going to their traditional family trip to her Nan’s house so she could go out with her friends and the other said she had asked to work Christmas Day because she didn’t like her family.
Woah. If there had been a fairy present on that 12.45 victoria Line service to Walthamstow Central she would have surely dropped dead. Even possibly spontaneously combusting, exploding internal organs and glitter all over the pair of Scroogettes.
It made me feel quite sad for them. I heart my family, in fact I’m sure I wouldn’t want there to be a Christmas if I didn’t get to spend it with that bunch of beautiful idiots.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without all of our daft traditions. The ones I’ll probably carry and pass onto my own children.
The ‘only allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve’ rule. Or how I would organise stockings and presents into each siblings designated area of the living room come midnight on Christmas Eve (putting myself in front of the fire. Yep I’m not daft). How me and my Mum have always decorated the tree whilst watching ‘Meet Me In St.Louis’. She does the lights, I do the baubles. Same with me and my boyfriend. He does the lights I do the tinsel. It occurs to me now that I’ve been shielded from plug sockets for most my life.
Of course families are super complicated and with new additions such as partners or kids can come a bit of juggling but also new traditions. For example me and my fella will wake up on Christmas morning, pour a glass of Bucks Fizz, eat pate on toast then open our presents. Then we go to my parents in the day, his parents in the evening (as they are the drinkers and the late night Karaoke enthusiasts). I did have an allergic reaction to peach Schnapps during Christmas day at my in laws a few years ago. I know what some of you are thinking. Peach Schnapps? When was this 1994? That’s like saying I got drunk to East 17.
We were doing shots as part of a drinking game. Yes, drinking games. My in laws are MEGA! My face blew up the drunker I got and I apparently disappeared for an hour. When my boyfriend came to find me I was pressing my face up against the wall of the bathroom because the tiles felt cool against my big hot red face. This was shortly followed by throwing a microphone at their fireplace during karaoke (I was trying to emulate Robbie Williams when he does the spinny thing with the mic then catches it). I followed this by insisting to my boyfirend this his (very lovely) mother was a misogynist! As she had suggested, quite rightly so, that I go to bed. No more drinking games.
Feeding a Mulgrew Peach Schnapps is like feeding a Mogwai after midnight. Only destruction and chaos can follow.
I am fascinated by people’s Christmas traditions and how they came about. The fact that it is such a incredibly universal holiday but that we all interpret it in such specific and personal ways. Actually I would love to hear about your, dear blog reader’s traditions. So please feel free to pop them in the comment box below.
When it comes to the festive period, I’m THAT guy. Y’know the one who is already listening to Christmas songs and watched all the Christmas films in my DVD library. Crikey, I’m writing a blog about Christmas and it isn’t even the first of December! That is how much I’m a knob for Christmas.
I was an actual Christmas Elf once. Yep that happened.
My first ever job as a sixteen year old was working in a rather posh (now defunct) children’s department store in Manchester called Daisy And Tom’s. I was employed as a Christmas Temp but was allocated the job of being the official store gift wrapper. Sounds fun right? It wasn’t. My counter was in the basement next to the toilets. They also charged a fortune for the service so nobody ever wanted anything wrapped. When I occasionally did get a customer, I’d had no formal training so would wrap to the best of my ability which I’ll be honest, at best looked like they’d let a bull loose in a Paperchase shop.
I remember wrapping a giraffe shaped height chart. I’ll never forget the look on the man’s face as I gave him the ribbon covered monstrosity. Imagine if one of the wise men had turned up at the birth of Baby Jesus with such a shoddily wrapped gift. The other two Kings would have been mortified and probably tried to excuse him by going “So sorry, he’s been at the Bethlehem German Christmas markets all afternoon. Too much Gluwhien.” I don’t even think a child playing a Wise man in a school nativity play would get away with one of my poorly wrapped presents.
After awhile they cottoned on and sent me to the Santa’s grotto upstairs to be an Elf. It was great. Me and the bloke who was Father Christmas had a right laugh. I got to joke around with very cute middle class kids, wore jangly bell accessories and took polaroid pictures. Unfortunately It was short lived as after a few weeks I was deposited back to the basement and replaced by a professional actor who came with his own elf suit. HIS OWN ELF SUIT. This was the days before working with children was regulated. Today, a man with his own elf suit would definitely have failed his CRB check. And yes I’m still totally bitter.
As I write this blog I’m currently eating a brownie and listening to the ‘Christmas Party’ album on Spotify. If I want to get in a festive mood I just stick a bit of music on with tales of snowmen and chestnuts roasting. Not snowmen’s chestnuts roasting. Ooooo I went all ‘Carry on’ for a minute there.
Smell and sound are our most potent senses when it comes to stirring our emotions. A whiff of a particular perfume or a jingle from an old advert can illicit a long forgotten memory. So I’ve decided to get all Nick Hornby ’31 songs’on your asses by making a lil’ list of songs and explaining why they get me all of a Noel.
Miss you most (at Christmas time) Mariah Carey
When I was at High School our P.E curriculum in the Winter term was swimming. the swimming pool was located in the primary school partnered with our school. It was about a ten minute walk but it was a nice ten minute walk as my school was in the middle of nowhere. Loadsa hills. I had a sony Walkman with a tape of Mariah Carey’s Christmas songs which I would listen to over and over again on the school bus. I’d been at a Dentist appointment so was late to the lesson but I remember walking down the road to this song and feeling an overwhelming sense of contentment. I think it was the first time I’d ever enjoyed my own company properly. That despite what some of my peers would say, I was actually pretty alright.
Fairytale Of New York The Pogues & Kirsty Mcoll
Me and my chaps Karaoke song. Every time I hear it, it makes me think about his stupid lovely face.
Christmas Wrapping The Waitresses
I worked for a few years in the Austic department of a special needs school. My lunchtime break duty for awhile was supervising a girl 1:1 who could be quite a handful. She went through a phase where all she wanted to do was to listen this song over and over again for the whole half hour, five days a week from November onwards. It still makes me giggle when remembering trying to negotiate other possible Christmas songs into our lunchtime repertoire but her having none of it. I would have been rubbish in a SWAT team.
O Holy Night Trad.
Before I ravaged my voice with booze and cigs, I sang this at the School choir service in my Fifth year. It was the first time at school I’d ever performed anything by myself. (I auditioned for lots of parts in school musicals but never got picked.) There was a super high note at the end that I was terrified of. When I hit it, I felt such an incredible feeling of exhilaration and in a way, defiance.
It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year Andy Williams
This reminds me of my parents spontaneously dancing in front of the Christmas tree. My Mum giggling her face off as my dad tried to serenade her despite the lyrics being faster and more complicated than Girls Aloud’s ‘Love Machine’.
Do you hear what I hear? Nat King Cole
Nat King Cole’s voice is just so deep and rich. Listening to it feels like being hugged in a blanket next to a massive fire. This song makes me feel like a safe, happy child. Proper lush like.
Now excuse me while I go on the John Lewis website to buy a novelty apron, a board game and a greeting in wooden gold sprayed cursive writing that I’ll probably never use at any other time of the year….I shitting well love Christmas.