Here it comes, blowing through December like a time sucking tornado. I don’t really get the whole Christmas thing. As children, my siblings and I indulged ourselves a little (out of curiosity) but it didn’t become part of our family culture. I remember asking my Mum what Santa was, “It’s something English people make up to tell their children at Christmas time.” And the foggy world of Christmas was made a little clearer. Simple.
Now I have children we ‘do’ Christmas – boy, oh boy it’s hard work! Is the effort worth the outcome? We are a blended family and celebrate lots of ‘special’ days so I feel I should try and get it. I TRY very hard. My husband isn’t crazy about Christmas either but we do it for the kids.
The ‘magic’ of Christmas
The night before my cooking marathon begins, the children put their stockings out next to the gas fire (?!) along with a mince pie and a diet coke – we don’t drink. However, this year the children have decided to make Santa a nice cup of tea, “he will warm it up with magic,” I’m told. Black coffee and some paracetamol might be a better option! I can’t help thinking of Santa as an alcoholic who falls off the wagon (sleigh) at Christmas only to spend the rest of the year in rehab – I promise I’m TRYING.
The children have advised me to put the fire out in good time for Santa’s arrival. Apparently it needs time to cool or, “Santa will burn his bottom”. Surely, I argue, Santa comes down boots first rather than in breech position? Or maybe he has a flame resistant suit? These suggestions hold no truck with my learned children. “Mama, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Can you just put the fire out please?” We put out carrots for the reindeer – I’m told it adds to the magic/lie of Christmas. The kids go to bed asking lots of questions about Santa and how he is going to park etc. I answer their innocent questions with a multitude of lies, fearing the day I will be found out and asked more questions to which I will, no doubt, tell more lies. (For a religious holiday surely this represents a serious roadblock to heaven!)
Q. Didn’t Jesus have something to do with Christmas?
When we’re sure the children are asleep, my husband will go out and snap the ends off the carrots (if Christmas was in summer I would do it). He insists on nibbling the stubs, “so they look more real.” Do animals know about topping carrots? I might as well cut them into batons and leave them out with some dip! To help round off the lie we stick a big ‘P’ in the middle of the lawn so Rudolph knows he is allowed to park there – without fear of being clamped no doubt; husband eats the mince pie, I stuff stockings and we go to bed.
In the morning there are more questions and more and more elaborate lies as we defend the first, and original, lie. It’s exhausting and I have come to understand why so much alcohol is consumed on this day.
And so ends Christmas for another year. Some fog remains and I’m still no closer to feeling any kind of magic. Exhaustion, yes, but not magic. Maybe my children will explain it all to me when they grow up.
Glad/jolly/merry tidings to you all!
ps. for the benefit of my American readers (hi Ned) a mince pie is another world of horror if you are not partial to Christmas Cake.