Skip to main content

Christmas Is Not For Kids

Christmas is not for kids, it’s for grown ups, and I should know, because I’m a grown up who used to be a kid, so I’ve had quite a few Christmas’s at this stage.
As a kid, you spend the whole year being told that Santa’s helpers are watching you, that you’ll get a bag of soot if you’re not good and that you have to go to bed early or Santa won’t come. You write a note to Santa in the hope he’ll bring you what you want, and mostly he does, even if it is the wrong colour or a different brand to the one you asked for. The house fills up with fizzy drinks and biscuits but any time an adult sees you enjoying same, you are told that if you eat or drink any more of that stuff you’re going to get sick. And yet, those same adults who pat your head and tell you how much you’ve grown are allowed to sit around the table with your parents, playing poker and drinking whiskey until their voices get louder and louder and then one of them gets sick, and nobody even gives out to them for it.

Give me Christmas for grown ups any day. I’ve spent the past few months avoiding paying my car tax in order to buy an X-box Kinnect for the kids, and there is definitely more pleasure to be had watching their excitement and seeing them enjoy it for that half hour before taking it over myself and telling them to go play Monopoly or something.
The whole month of December is a great excuse not to write your blog, due to the time investment needed for the baking, house decorating and shopping that all goes into the big day.
Then there’s the crib that I’ve set up on the hall table. Modern child has no interest in cribs because they are not computer games and don’t come with a remote control. For me though, the nativity is the one part of the bible that I can relate to: it’s about how broke people down on their luck normally don’t get any support but are told to get lost, and although I’ve never given birth in a manger, I have been homeless, even if that homelessness was the time I slept on the beach in Greece on a backpacking holiday years ago, and granted it didn’t involve childbirth nor was there a wise man in sight, but still…
Christmas dinner is for grown ups. Most kids don’t like brussel sprouts, and a lot of adults don’t either, the difference is this: if you’re a kid you are told you have to eat them and that they’re good for you, if you’re a grown up you just say ‘no sprouts for me thanks’. And what about Christmas crackers? This year a law came out that you should be over 16 to buy them, but if you ask me, you’d want to be at least over 60 to enjoy hearing a little bang sound, wear a paper crown, read a corny joke and get a little plastic key ring.
This year has been a particularly good Christmas for me, as I didn’t get a single book, so I don’t have to feel guilty about not reading, and the hazardous weather conditions meant that I pulled out of doing my traditional Christmas swim. Given that reading and swimming constitute two of the main traditions I’ve kept with, I’m making sure not to break with any other ones, so I’ll be off now to make a cold turkey and cranberry sambo and eat it in the messy living room. Then I’ll have  a fight with the kids about how none of them appreciate anything they got for Christmas and how I’m the only person around her putting any effort into making things happen, because after all, why should they enjoy themselves when Christmas is not for kids; it’s for grown ups, and I’m loving it.


Popular posts from this blog

A Packet of Solpadeine and a Lecture Please

Years ago I was a respectable lady married to a nice German doctor, and it was he who brought to my attention that in Germany you can only buy pain killers in a chemist and not in a petrol station, pub or supermarket and that there was not a chance in hell that you could ever buy a pain killer with codeine in it directly from a pharmacy, which in Ireland, you can - Solpadeine.
Then a friend of mine who is a pharmacist told me that Solpadeine was her best seller. So lucrative were the sales that she did not have enough room to store the stuff in her pharmacy. But that was also back in the time when I was respectable, and in the meantime the Solpadeine police seem to be out on patrol.
Now if you ask me, I think it's pure madness to sell substances with codeine in them over the counter at a pharmacy, and I'm also a bit iffy about buying paracetemol in the supermarket, given that any 13 year old can go in and stock up on a drug that is lethal in relatively small doses. But there a…

The MoMa, a Beggar and my Limp

There’s a woman who walks up and down the streets around West 82nd and Amsterdam Avenue asking people if they’ll give her a dollar. I’d put her around 80. Small, wiry, bent, wispy hair. Brittle bird legs in black tights, but still a follower of fashion in a knit skirt with a tartan pattern, more the kind of skirt you might see on a 20-year-old Asian student. Pale pink lipstick, and a crimson red blouse topped with a cream overcoat despite the muggy August New York heat. I wonder what she does with the money she collects. She doesn’t look like she eats anything, can’t tell if she drinks. She’s sober when she pushes her trolley bag up and down 82nd, asking ‘do you have a dollar for me?’ I don’t give her one. I keep my dollars for the MoMa. My feet are killing me after walking into the city, but I’m scared of the subway. I did make a weak attempt, but have no idea what they mean by uptown and downtown. Both of these expressions mean the same thing where I come from: Uptown – as in, I’m…

Letter to a Boy, who Died aged 18, by Suicide

Dear Tiernan,
I shouldn’t be writing you this letter. I should be hearing about you from my son, your childhood best friend. It should be about some course you are doing, or a plan that you all have to meet up. But that’s all gone. Now there’s just that awful day that you went missing. The day a boy was seen jumping off the bridge. Next time I saw you, you were in a coffin, your body, bashed up by the waves; bruised, broken, dead. The boy who told me ‘be nice to nerds, you’ll be working for them some day.’ The boy who I watched grow up, who I held great faith in. Dead at 18. And what’s left? The rest of us. Your inconsolable friend, his sister and his mother, travelling back to the West of Ireland for your funeral. Sitting in your home. Going into your bedroom and picking up your things. Yesterday this was your camera, these were your pyjama bottoms, that was your sketchbook. Now they feel strange to the touch. Relicts. And we, who never shut up, are silent. There are no words for ou…