Tis the season

Cometh the festive season. The winter solstice, Saturnalia, Advent, Yalda, Watch Night….Shark Week. Jolly people are putting on ludicrous jumpers, wrapping gifts and throttling fatted geese with strings of musical fairy lights. Others are slamming their doors on carolers, and punching reindeer in the face.

All, one way or another, in the spirit of Christmas.

I suppose I’d better get this out of the way, for it reveals the rarely seen fluffy side of me…I do not mind Christmas time and intend to embracing it this year in all its twinkling glory!……….
……..Obviously I’m not embracing ALL of it, don’t be ridiculous. I respect traditions of the festive season, and have no problem with them being in my line of sight, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Sigh. But that’s just the problem – this is what Christmas is trying to do to me..
Christmas is like a terribly appreciative and slightly rebound relationship: I’m okay with it, I don’t mind showing my affection for it in public, there’s nothing technically wrong with it. But…eeeehhhhhhhh. It wants to move in with me and invest in matching onesies. It’s always showing me other people’s pictures of their Yuletide love on Facebook. It huffs that we really should have dressed the tree by now ‘like all our friends have done’. It wants to watch Kirsty fucking Alsop make shitty herb cushions that not even Tories want.

I just want to ease into it, and see where things go. But now I stand in themed shops, sweaty and wide eyed in front of sets of 40 bulb fairy lights and 200 bulb ones, too afraid to commit to the higher level of electricity and too nervous to face the Christmas wrath of all and sundry for not having enough tiny lights. 
Christmas is all a bit of a big step for me. I’ve been out of the game for a few years, emotionally, having been hurt rather badly in the past. At first it was just a bit of a sad time as, being Irish and Catholic, someone would have inevitably up and died in the previous year so that on Christmas Day, we would have to stop and sigh every eight minutes: “Aaaaccchh they would have loved all this wrapping paper”. My mum and dad have both passed away, so my sister and I inevitably spend a sizeable part of Christmas with our partners’ family, as is only fair. And the deeper hurt I speak of sprung from the years spent celebrating with my ex in-laws.

Chrstmas, The Demon Gin, Canterbury Blog

Mum, me and my sister in Kent.
For all I know, this was taken in March. But let’s pretend it’s Christmas

Now don’t get me wrong, these were  nice people who were kind and welcoming and were just doing things their way….but they didn’t quite grasp the legally binding obligation to eat and drink constantly on Christmas Day. Now I can appreciate that no one will ever give me the same level of complete indulgent laziness that my darling departed mother and father afforded me….but come the fuck on. TWO roast potatoes per person?! ONE round of turkey, and just the two bottles of red (for the love of cat tits) on the table? And where were the leftover sandwiches in time for Doctor Who? I don’t CARE if everyone is still full, you have to have extra sandwiches!!!! Served with chocolate biscuits. And a pot of Stilton. And a tube of Pringles. And dates – I don’t even like dates, but by GOD I will eat them, so help me I will eat them……..why isn’t Doctor Who on? W…why isn’t the TV on at all. Oh my God.

I know, I know. They meant well. Not everyone is a glutton, like me. But they weren’t poor. And one year, one in-law bought me a single bottle of olive oil as a present. A bottle. Of olive oil.
The cycle of death and having to restrain myself at Christmas dinner did leave a sour taste in my mouth for a few years. But things are fairing better these days. With the new beau comes much lovelier ‘in-laws’, who truly make me feel like family by stuffing me so full of food and drink that I can see through time. And even in the darkest years, I would still get a grasp of indulgence when my sister and I met for our mini-Xmas get together. I remember turning up on her doorstep after one particular barren Christmas Day in middle England, to find her nodding sympathetically, a rack of lamb in each hand. I wept.

This year, I am hosting the Hanna orphan’s annual festival of feasting with me, sis, bro-in-law and my beau, but this year has an added element of excitement: I have a three-year-old nephew to play with. Leo is at the perfect Xmas age – old enough to be mesmerized by it, articulate enough to talk about it, and young enough to be hilarious when trying to express himself through dance. It’s true that kids really do make the season brighter (N.B this affection extends only my direct family. I hate other people’s kids and their wide-eyed wonderment, and they should keep away from me).
Awesome Star Wars Boy,The Demon Gin, Canterbury Blog

My nephew has just discovered Star Wars.

You have NO idea what this means for my people.

And with these thoughts of family fun and obesity in mind, I find there is plenty more that I love about Christmas. Decorations make me happy – the twinkle of white lights (no colours, heathen), dressed windows and bushy green garlands. And the joy of cooking itself. It is that wonderful time of year when you can boil wine and not be accused of planning to use it to storm Leeds Castle. This is a season to get loud in the kitchen, for no one will judge you for it. I shall return to my own foodie exploits in later blogs but for now, go and create your own splendour! Take pictures of your accomplishments and forcibly shove them in your friends’ faces with a shovel!

As I said, I can’t embrace every Christmas tradition. There are things that I will literally burn if they approach me – and I will detail one or two soon. But all in all…maybe I can get the hang of this season. I think I’m ready to commit.

These took six hours to put up

Maybe it’s time to buy a Christmas jumper.

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