Thursday, December 21, 2006

And to all a merry Christmas

THE TURKEY has been bought. The wee man’s new shoes are sitting in pristine condition along with his new pyjamas, vests, socks and Christmas best.

The presents are ready to be wrapped. The obligatory Christmas emails sent (we dispensed with cards this year, choosing to donate the money towards Oxfam’s school meals scheme) and our Christmas tree is glistening with an array of coloured lights.
I’ve already spent the best part of the last week fending off the wee man’s scurrilous attempts to remove all the decorations from said tree and leave a trail of them around the house. “A tree is for looking and not for touching,” we’ve repeated to him ad nauseum just in time to see him lift off another gold star and tell us he only wants to give it a cuddle.
Our fridge is heaving with seasonal treats, from the bacon and eggs for Christmas morning breakfast to the bottles of wine chilling in preparation for Saturday night when I will sit down, switch on the telly and catch the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ final.
Then, and only then, will my Christmas break have begun.
I have to admit I’m really excited about the whole thing. I’m probably more excited than a grown woman should be about the whole thing especially given the fact that this year, for the first time, the Allan clan are flying solo on Christmas day.
Turning 30 has had a certain effect on me. Most notably I have decided it is time to start acting like a proper grown up and not running to my mammy’s house every five minutes.
Added to this is the fact that wee man is now approaching three years of age and for the first time has a real understanding of the magic of Christmas. He can’t wait for Santa to slide down the chimney on Christmas Eve and leave him an assortment of toys. (His latest request, replacing ‘Toys ‘R’ Us’ has been ‘the moon and stars’- I think he might a little disappointed with the Fifi Magnadoodle in comparison.) It would be unfair of us to lift from his Aladdin’s Cave of goodies and take him to his granny and grandad’s for the day where he would watch his cousin play with her toys instead, so in the spirit of being responsible grown ups and parents we are staying home.
The added bonus for me is that himself has agreed to cook and while I’m on driving duty that day so having to abstain from alcohol, it still means I can plonk myself down on the floor with the wee man and have a wonderful day playing in front of the tree. And when Joseph goes to bed, I’ll be opening the wine and getting pleasantly sozzled and watching the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ Christmas Special, followed by a healthy dose of Hugh Grant being devilishly handsome in ‘Love Actually’.
We have the day planned out, from creeping down the stairs in the morning to checking if the big man in the red suit has been to creeping back up again in the evening and falling into a drink induced sleep.
Of course I’ll be carrying on the traditions of my childhood. Joseph has new clothes- everything from his vest and socks to his shiny new red shoes. Admittedly I had to battle with my husband on that one who argued that I was mad to go the whole hog and that nowhere was it written that a child needed new shoes for Christmas-“The baby Jesus didn’t get new shoes, and I don’t see why Joseph needs them,” he arugued. But he failed to understand that it is tradition round these parts.
When we were wee, and money was tight, Christmas was one of the very few times of the year when you were guaranteed new clothes- from jammies to jumpers. You never got a hand me down for Christmas Day, no matter what other fashion crimes littered your junior wardrobe.
I still remember how wonderful it felt to put on crisp new pyjamas after your Christmas Eve bath and snuggle down in crisp clean sheets and try desperately to fall asleep while waiting for Santa. And it felt even better to dress the next morning in the latest styles, from flouncy dresses to patent leather shoes.
The second tradition was the visit to your granny’s house. My Granny McGuinness’ house was a special treat because having 10 children herself, you were always guaranteed to see most of your family on Christmas morning. We were always treated to presents and a glass of 7Up and a slice of boiled ham. God love my granny, but with 10 children, their partners and a million grandchildren I doubt there was much of the ham, or the 7Up left by the time it came to her sitting down for her dinner.
It was then on to my Granny Davidson’s where my English cousins would be, and we would sit in front of the Top of the Pops Christmas Special and tease my granny about the latest fashions while singing along at the top of our voices.
So I’ll be strapping the J-man into his car seat on Christmas morning and visiting my own parents. I’ve to persuade them to get some ham in for me to snaffle and some 7Up to send Joseph into a sugar induced state of hyperness.
And then it will be home for dinner- a feast of turkey, stuffing, potatoes and broccoli (or Turkey, stuffing, tetatoes and broccowi as Joseph puts it) and TV and booze fest.
All too soon it will be over for another year, but hopefully we, and Joseph, will have a myriad of memories to keep us warm until next year.
I hope the festive season is memorable for you all too and in the words of Rolf from the Muppets: “Have yourself a Merry a little Christmas. May your hearts be light. Next year all our troubles will be out of sight.” God bless.

I'll be signing off now for the festivities. Have a peaceful and prosperous festive season one and all.

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