Christmas can be an overwhelming experience. It can push some to the edge. Here are some of the aspects of Christmas that some people enjoy but others don’t embrace too quickly
They say ‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail’, whoever ‘they’ are. But of course, they are right. Christmas involves huge amounts of preparation – things like taking your frozen turkey out of the freezer in late November; ordering in two more tubs of Quality Street to replace the ones you ate in early December; and preparing to talk to relatives that you try and avoid for the rest of the year. Prepare some ready-made questions such as ‘Awful weather we’ve been having isn’t it?’ and ‘You had a good year?’
They’ll go down a treat. Promise.
When you were a kid, carol singing was your chance to embrace the Christmas spirit and to bring cheer to the old people who lived next door. As you get older, you suddenly realise that these cheery cherubs could actually be charged with daylight robbery with the quality of singing on offer. They always call during the middle of dinner and they always look disappointed with whatever you give them to go away from your door.
The School Nativity
As autumn turns into winter, all eyes turn to the school nativity play to usher in the Christmas season. On paper, this all sounds very exciting. That’s until the costumes need to be made. And the big debate about who’s going to play Mary spills out into the playground. And when the big day comes around, there’s always an angel who forgets her one line and needs prompting from a teacher sat simmering at the bottom of the stage.
Christmas shopping, has of course, changed immensely over the years. Gone are the traffic jams, the long queues at the tills and the audio assault of Christmas music on the ears. The internet has transformed Christmas shopping into a wonderful, stress-free experience that can be done from the comfort of your own armchair. Haha. Yeah, right.
Planning in advance for the works Christmas party is a fine art. Hide £20 somewhere on your person so that you’ve always got money for a taxi home. Write your address down on a piece of paper to show the taxi driver, should you become incapable of speaking.
At the party itself, always carry two drinks because if you bump into someone you like, you can stay and drink them both. If they’re not someone you like, you can always make the excuse that you can’t stop and talk as you have a drink to give to someone. Up there for thinking eh?
As a kid, sherry was the reserve of the older people – those people who’d come to your house in their Sunday best. But as the years go by, sherry starts to work its merry magic on you. First, a tipple as a teenager. A tumbler in your twenties. By the time you get to your forties, you’re downing flagons of the stuff.
Circling the things in the TV guide as to what you were going to watch on telly over Christmas is now a long-forgotten pastime that kids these days just wouldn’t understand. You see, back in the day, the Christmas Day film was THE big event of the entire holiday season. No Netflix, YouTube or even the hundreds of channels that we have now. Oh no. We had just four channels to pick from and if you were going to stay up late, the Closedown would remind you that you should really be in bed.
The Christmas tree
Think of it logically. What drives us to go and stick a 7 ft tree in our house? Would you do it any other time of year? Ask yourself and answer it honestly. If you’re the sort who demands a REAL tree in your front room (those plastic ones just aren’t the same darling), there is the ritual of going to pick your tree in the first place to deal with. The first one you look at is just about right. But you’ll need to look at 20 more just to be sure. And sure enough, the first one was good enough.
If turkey was tasty, you’d eat it any other time of the year wouldn’t you? We try and dress it up any way we can to make it more palatable. Cranberry sauce, honey dip – even mustard. It gets that bad that you even have to chuck it into a curry to disguise it. Things are obviously worse for the turkey herself who has her innards taken out and put in a plastic bag that’s popped back up her bum.
Not many people know this but Christmas pudding was invented by a bricklayer. One Christmas Eve, this bricklayer was trying to finish off an outside toilet that he was building. Just before he finished his creation, he realised that he was several bricks short. As all the builders’ yards were closed, the bricklayer had to think fast as he wanted to get home. In a nearby bin, he found some old fruit peelings and a load of flour. He mixed them all in together with some water and created what he thought would pass as a brick.
Sadly, the lady who he was building the toilet for took it in as a gift and wanted to serve it the following day. The bricklayer attempted to burn the abomination that he’d created – a tradition that’s continued to this day.
Another British tradition that leaves foreigners scratching their heads:
“Yes, that’s right. The lead actor is a woman but she’s playing the part of a young boy. And yes, the big buxom dame isn’t really a woman. No. That’s a man. Ah, who cares? And I don’t know why the Prince is always such a boring drip. He just is. I’m sure he’s nice in real life.”
As many Christmas compilations will confirm, the word ‘aglow’ never existed until the early 1950s, when American Christmas song writers wanted a word to rhyme with ‘snow’.
There was a time when wearing Christmas jumpers was a fashionable thing to do. Then they bombed out of fashion. They went out of fashion so much that they came back into fashion a few decades later as so-bad-they’re-good fashion. People are now making money off selling retro-looking Christmas jumpers and people are snapping them up like hotcakes. See? Christmas was that much better in days gone by that we’re having to even recreate the fashion of the times.
Christmas is all about catching up with friends and family but sometimes, they turn up when you least expect it. Here’s a little trick you can use to get yourself out of this pickle:
When your doorbell rings, put on your coat before you open the front door. If it’s someone you want to see, tell them that you’ve just got back from shopping and welcome them in. If it’s someone you’d rather not see, tell them that you were just heading out for the day.
Works a treat every time.