Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Have yourself a militant little Christmas

Given all the eating and drinking, it probably won’t surprise you to hear that I LOVE Christmas. I love it so much I’ve been known to buy decorations in June (I do have a strict rule that festivities can not begin until December, but I was on holiday and there was a Christmas shop – I couldn’t help it).
Everyone has their own idea of what Christmas must contain or ‘it’s just not Christmas’ and my passion is such that I have a slight tendency towards the Christmas Commandant (note the reference a ‘strict rule’ above. There are more.) I have very clear ideas on what is and is not Christmassy.
Colours, for instance. Red, green, silver and gold (and white – especially of the snowy variety) – yes. Blue, pink and pastels of any description – NO. And as for matchy-matchy blue or pink (or purple) Christmas trees - HELL NO. This year we accidentally bought coloured lights for our tree (clear lights look much nicer, I’m sure you’ll agree. If not I have ways of making you agree…) While I could make my peace with the red and green ones, they are, after all, permissible Christmas colours, the blue ones had to go. And by go, I mean get duct taped up, one by one, until their non-Christmassy glow was obliterated. What? It’s perfectly normal. *ahem*
But it’s not just about the colours and the gluttony, it’s also about the presents. Not just the receiving (I like diamonds and ponies, in case you were wondering…) I am a big big fan of the giving. I get very excited about giving people presents, especially when I think it’s something they’ll really like. There’s a reason this is my favourite Christmas ad ever:

All together now: ahhhhhhhh… Now that we’re feeling all warm and fuzzy, let’s turn our thoughts back to food (you didn’t think I was going to leave it at one brief mention of gluttony, did you?) This is perhaps the area in which most people (myself included) get the most militant. For some it’s mince pies, for others it’s trifle. I’m not bothered about either (‘what?!’ I hear your inner radical Christmas elf gasp ‘no mince pies?!’) But my Christmas must (MUST!) include my Nana’s stuffing. It is, without doubt, the best stuffing recipe in the world (it contains potatoesand I defy you to say any different.
Christmas traditions are many and varied it’s always entertaining to see the clash of customs when families come together. As the youngest in the family, I got to look on as my older sibling’s partners were introduced to our family Christmas. Their varied reactions to my mother’s annual Christmas wobbler were always fun to watch (the pressure of catering and general emotional high doe of the season tended to culminate in an episode of some sort, usually involving one or all of; a sudden outburst, a tea-towel flung dramatically to the floor, a slammed door, tears). I particularly remember the looks of horror when new boyfriends or girlfriends were told we didn’t open our presents until everyone was fully dressed and had been to mass (mass - and yet my father never appreciates our singing ‘Happy Birthday dear Jesus, Happy Birthday tooo yooouuuuu…’ It’s disrespectful apparently). The belated presents tradition was nothing but cruel if you ask me, and I was in full support of the mutiny led by my eldest sister’s husband the year we stormed the living room in our pyjamas and let rip under the tree.
This year we’ll be taking it one further and opening our presents on Christmas Eve, because that’s how they do it here in Sweden. Yes, we get to share a whole new set of Swedish traditions with our friends which essentially means TWO Christmases. Excited does not even begin to describe it.
See? Lovely Christmassy colours. Much better.