Observations on Christmas…

A very merry Christmas to all you festive Pickers and Mixers – the time is upon us for goodwill, peace and shocking credit card bills…so here is a note from us girls about our Christmas experience…

The French family Christmas usually consists of a brief, dutiful nod in the direction of church, followed fairly immediately by a controlled stampede towards the Christmas loot.  This only tails off when the dinner bell is sounded and we descend on the table to devour a luncheon banquet of roast beef, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, parsnips, gravy, a token green vegetable, and a few dozen of those little sausages wrapped in bacon.  I’m cooking this year, heaven help me.  Then those of us who can get away with not walking the dog lie about eyeing the remains and muttering feeble things about washing-up, before opening the traditional bottle of wine and watching seasonal specials on telly until the small hours…

Lisa’s McLellan Christmas highlights include:

  • Inspecting the presents under the tree on Christmas Eve, and searching out the ones with your name on them.  It is good practice to guess what they might be, as this heightens the anticipation.  This works especially well with oddly shaped gifts – less so with those bearing a resemblance to a book, CD, or box of Roses.
  • That fraction of a second when you wake up, before you remember what day it is, then the warm glow as you realize that it’s Christmas day.
  • Drinking champagne (it’s actually £4.99 Cava) before noon.  As I understand it, this practice is reserved for special occasions only and, as such, is frowned upon when attempted on an average weekday.
  • Presents!  ‘Nuff said.
  • Food – chipolatas in bacon – small but essential elements of the traditional Christmas dinner.  I think they deserve more credit than they seem to get, overshadowed by the turkey (or, if you are posh, the goose).  Stuffing is also important.  Sprouts once offended me, but I have grown to accept them  (and actually quite enjoy them – with a dollop of bread sauce).  Roast potatoes go without saying.  And desert; a generous slice (or two) of my mum’s coffee and walnut cake.
  • Christmas crackers – like a senile old uncle, they offer the same worn out jokes time and time again, and bear gifts that you will never use.  They give you hats that you will be obliged to wear, yet will be discarded before the end of the meal.  But (just like a senile old uncle) Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without them.
  • The Muppets Christmas Carol – one of my favourite festive movies.  The muppets at their finest.  It is a perfect film to settle down to as, full and bloated, your body comes to terms with the extravagancies of the day.

The editor ‘s simple Christmas plan…

This Christmas I will mostly be listening to the lovely old album Closing Time‘ by Tom Waits – partly to drown out the sound of  my inner mother berating me for failing again to properly tidy the house…and partly because I find the holidays so stressful anything more jolly would send me weeping hysterically to the bottom of the garden.

Me and my cousin will begin the day with a dance around the kitchen while we make the dinner – leaving Dad to play video games in the living room, like a grouchy, antisocial teenager.  After the plentiful eatin’s and present-wrapper-ripping we will most certainly be settling down for the watching of the kids films – Ice Age 3, possibly Shrek, again.  Christmas is for the kids anyway…

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