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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Yuletide or not Yuletide




Every year is the same. In spite of my best intentions Xmas turns into a shambles. It’s a bit like ‘whatsisname’ the grubby boy from Charlie Brown who manages to get covered in grime every time he leaves his front door much to the dismay of Lucy who is permanently clean, tidy, well presented and in a bad mood. Perhaps they all go together. The experience of being the only perfect person in the mix must make for some sour feelings, after all the rest of us are doomed to failure when compared with those who are sublimely addicted to the flawless performance of the Xmas rituals. And any other rituals at any other time actually.

A choice slice of martyrdom is served up alongside the Xmas bird. It is as inevitable as any other part of the tradition. Even if you make a pact with the lady of the house to have no presents—there will be presents. If you organise paper plates there will be extra cutlery. If you bring plastic cups and cutlery there will be three tablecloths and several dinner sets needed. You can’t win when someone is bound and determined to wring the neck of the Xmas experience and squeeze every drop of cheer out of the yuletide season.

Five years ago was no exception. However there was a new dimension added to the whole debacle. I was licked before I started, if I had only known. Every year I try to do some little thing that I hope will go some distance to breaching the gap, between the expectations of the perfect day, and the pathetic standard that I am actually able to meet. Having done the whole shebang one year myself — just to prove I could — I returned to doing a special few things that may be unique. That year I decided on the ice-cream Xmas pudding. This would be my “piece de resistance”.

Suffice it to say that the pudding wasn't a hit. I forgot that my sons see dried fruit as appealing as seeds in watermelon, and everyone else wanted "tradition". By the time I heard about it, all I wanted was "out". The Yuletide Lament began, but didn't end there.

The best year we had was when everyone was present, thus leaving no-one to be the sacrificial lamb, and Mum had made that most wonderful of blunders and bought alcoholic cider, instead of the usual non-alcoholic fare and got a little merry indeed.

But that year the sugar plum fairy had danced in my mother's head and instead of being the recipient of her usual Christmas Lament, I was the unwitting cause of it. I will leave well enough alone, except to say that I went home with my youngest son vowing to invent my own Yuletide Lament. With a little luck, I will have it ready for the next Xmas season, when it is more than likely that no-one will be talking to me, much less listening.

So this year I plan to have Christmas with the homeless. Whether that will be as a guest or a helper remains to be seen. My last budget figures showed that challenges were ahead, which sounds like a cheap astrology reading.

Either way I'll pretend. After all, that's what Christmas is all about.

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