As time has gone by I’ve discovered an inner festive-elf that delights in fairy-lights, delves into the Christmas decoration box as soon as humanly possible (I’m usually only allowed to start putting them up on the 1st of December by my Grinch, and that’s only once we’ve listened to “Lonely This Christmas” by Mud) and revel in the new and old traditions that we’ve established over the years – especially the picking up of Christmas ornaments as we traipse to different cities. Amongst the branches hang miniature dutch clogs, an Irish fairy, teeny Kiwis, Football baubles and a German angel who crowns our decorations with a fair few others.
But, I was never a Christmas fan. There, I said it. When I was a teenager I’d go out with friends on Christmas Eve celebrating the season (a bit overmuch to be honest) and Christmas Day would be a bit of a struggle, especially when my hyper excited family would bounce on my bed at 6am – a crazy thing to do even at the best of times. #Bahhumbug
As I’ve spent the last couple of Christmases delighting in antipodean sunshine (the joy of being an expat, though kind of bamboozling to my English Prince) and been lucky enough to have celebrated a few new festivities over the years – Thanksgiving, Sinterthanksgiving (an expat thing a few of us invented), Christmas jumper day and Hanukkah – we’ve been looking forward to the festive delight of white Christmasses in the middle of winter.
(Ps. I just discovered this gem on YouTube which might explain a few Kiwi-isms)
So to ease myself back into the festivities, as part of December’s Travel Linkup, I decided to get a few issues off my chest.
1¦ People who discriminate against Brussel Sprouts.
They’re an innocent cruciferous vegetable and rightfully deserve a place on the dinner table. Though, if you don’t like them, all the more for me I guess… I genuinely like those little green cabbage spheres – especially cooked just the side of crisp and served with a drizzle of honey, chestnuts or cranberries and bacon. I still don’t really understand why Turkey is such an important part of festivities here though.
2¦ Festive TV Specials that colour too far outside the lines.
Watching the Doctor Who special on Christmas Day, after toasting her Majesty is an essential part of my festive experience, but over the years I’ve found myself a little disappointed by other series that stretch too far away from the original – like Only Fools and Horses on a tropical island or the last episode of The Royale Family that pushed all the wrong buttons.
3¦ Gift anxiety
Buying something for people that have everything, making sure all gifts are correctly reciprocated and also manage to be meaningful and not useless.
4¦ Saintnicolas magicalus aka Santa’s Reindeer are thought of as men
Putting aside the fact that Santa as we know him is a commercial creation, it’s a common misconception that his reindeer are men, but I’ve unearthed, er, research that suggests otherwise. Something about deer shedding antlers etc. to be honest I really don’t mind either way which sex they actually are, as long as they eat the carrots we put out for them.
5¦ 3 months of Christmas carols
Listening to the beautiful refrain of Christmas carols echoing through church rafters is magical. But not in October.
6¦ Why aren’t Mince Pies a year round thing?
Mince Pies, OHHHHH the Mince Pies. In New Zealand it was only one particular brand that made the best (they also made really delicious Apricot ones) but I’ve managed to find a few that live up to my childhood expectations.
7¦ Egg Nog Hangovers.
Am I right or am I right?
8¦ Actually, also having to wait ALL year to Mull all the things.
Cranberry juice, cider, wine, poached pears, lemonade, hot toddies, wassail, coffee, crème brulee… just think of all the delicious ways we could introduce the intoxicating mix of spices that signify the festive months.
9¦ Dressing up for Christmas Day
Unless we’re going to play Victorian parlour games or get a team together to run a Christmas obstacle course for charity dressed as a Christmas dinner, I don’t want to feel the pressure to dress in a certain way or have my nails manicured. You could say I’m not really a girly girl – thought I do love the tradition of playing board games after dinner.
10¦ Taking down the fairy lights and decorations
We traditionally haul a Christmas Tree on public transport (I mean you could get one delivered or borrow a friend’s car, but it wouldn’t be the same) and the delight we take in putting it up, decorating the full boughs and admiring them in the soft fairylight is only matched by my sadness at having to take everything down and pack it all away afterwards.
Making Jaffa Slice and trying in vain to resist the siren call whilst it sits in the fridge. My personal idea of hell.
Oh, and most important of all, the emphasis of “Goodwill To All Men” – though shouldn’t that be every day rather than 4 weeks in a calendar year?
How about you? What do you love or loathe about the festive season?