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.