Christmas, don’t you just love it?
Most special celebration days – birthdays, Easter, Valentines, Halloween – can be a bit of a non-event: they start and finish pretty much like any other day but with more cake or chocolate. That’s not a bad thing, but hardly worth all the fuss they make about them.
But Christmas is different. Christmas is a time for serious fun and concentrated chaos.
A few weeks beforehand the house is decorated with glittery bits and pieces and flashing lights… talk about sensory overload! Woah… I never know what to go for first! Rich pickings for a fiddler like me, and if I time it right I can wreck several things in turn: start with something fairly large then keep moving on to the next as they’re rebuilding each of the previous displays.
Now whenever I bring any kind of shrubbery in from the garden Smiley and Frowny usually go nuts, but apparently it’s acceptable behaviour if they bring a tree into the living room. I don’t know, it’s one rule for them… Actually I shouldn’t complain because I really like having a tree indoors. We usually have one that reaches all the way to the ceiling so over the years I’ve had several attempts at pulling it down – well I bet you would if you thought you could get away with it, wouldn’t you? And a falling tree in the living room can be quite a spectacular way of gaining attention.
But these days I often find myself distracted by all the twinkly things hanging from the branches. When I was younger these used to smash in a very satisfying way and you could walk through all the broken pieces but nowadays they just seem to bounce pathetically. Health and safety gone mad if you ask me.
Did I mention the lights? These are great fun and can be tackled in a couple of different ways; you can grab one end of the cable and walk out of the room with it trailing a whole string of fairy lights behind you (if you’re lucky it can also bring the tree down), or you can bite them one-by-one and they make a lovely crunch which fizzes on your tongue. Frowny gets very anxious when I do this and frowns even more than normal.
On the whole Christmas cards aren’t worth bothering with: I still grab an occasional handful and run around tearing them up or biting large chunks out of them in the hope that someone will give chase but no-one seems very interested. In fact they often look glad to be given an excuse to throw some of them in the bin, which makes me wonder why people bother sending them in the first place.
I find the rules for the whole ‘presents under the tree’ thing a bit complicated; apparently a lot of the gifts are put there for me, but then I’m not allowed to open them. What? Well I always regard those sorts of rules as a challenge and open one of the parcels whenever I get the opportunity. Of course I can’t read the labels to identify which presents are for me so I just open whatever’s closest. The contents are often not worth bothering with: jewellery, perfume, books… you know, nothing of real value that you can actually eat, though sometimes I can hit the jackpot and discover an entire selection box full of chocolate. But even if the contents are a disappointment, the sensory reward in ripping the paper is brilliant and it always brings someone running so there’s the added bonus of a bit of attention when service gets a bit slow.
Then comes the day when Frowny starts her advance baking ritual and the smell drives me bananas because I rarely seem to receive more than the usual rations. I’m sure she only does this in retribution for all the tree-related mishaps. Very petty.
And to make things worse, my whole routine goes to pot because my school bus stops coming in the mornings – however long or hard I rattle and kick the front door – so I’ve no real way to gauge the amount of time passing.
I know the big day’s getting close when they start talking about the big, jolly, fat guy with a white beard and no dress sense who supposedly travels about with flying reindeer, squeezes down the chimney in the middle of the night and gives us free stuff. Yeah, right… and they say I’m intellectually challenged? Well I’ve never seen him and I’m awake a lot during the night, but the free stuff is definitely there in the morning so who am I to argue? I was taken to meet him last year but he didn’t look particularly jolly when I pulled off his beard so I don’t think it was really him after all.
So, finally Christmas day arrives and all hell breaks loose. People rush about madly, wearing funny paper hats and thrusting parcels at me. And on this one day I’m ‘allowed’ to open the presents, which completely takes the fun out of it so I often throw them to one side just to see the looks on their faces. Some of the parcels are opened for me and I have to admit the contents can be pretty good: in my opinion one can never have too many primary-coloured-music-playing-flashing-light-bits-of-plastic. Often I’m given several of these so I spend the entire day setting them all off at once.
But the very best thing about Christmas is of course the ‘Eat your own bodyweight in food’ competition, of which I’m the reigning champion. They try to make me wait for this for hours and hours, but I’ll have none of that sort of behaviour from them and frequently have to remind them who’s in charge. If I make enough fuss I usually find they’ll ply me with several smaller meals and snacks on the lead up to the big event.
If I was the sort of person who could be patient (which of course I’m not) this would certainly be the meal worth waiting for. My plate is piled high in the vain hope that this will ‘keep me busy’ while they sit and try to enjoy their own meal. They do this every year. And every year they underestimate my capacity to eat as fast as humanly possible and demand more. With some concentrated effort I find I can manage a ratio of at least three full platefuls to their one.
Then it’s on to the trifle, chocolate roulade and Christmas pudding… all in the same bowl… topped off with cream and a good dose of medication as a chaser. And after all that I often find myself unaccountably unable to move and usually crash out on a bean bag on the living room floor.
I’m so Rock & Roll.
A day well spent I think.