I’m dreaming of a selfish Christmas…
‘Christmas is for the children’ people say. Ha! I say to you. HA, with SLEIGH BELLS ON. Of course Christmas isn’t just for children! If you think that adults have grown out of wearing Olaf from Frozen onesies and excitedly ripping open presents under the tree, you’re WAY wrong. We want to have fun too, you know! Surely that’s why God invented Baileys?
In fact, when the excitement of Santa’s arrival has died down, I would say that children actually get in the way of the rest of it. They run around the table, making the gravy spill everywhere, they ruin the delicious anticipation of Christmas dinner with their hate-filled sprout reviews, and they’re a nightmare all afternoon, when all you want to do is get acquainted with a snowball and doze off in front of the Homes Under the Hammer Christmas Special.
Yep, kids get all the fun. But what about OUR Christmas list? Why don’t we get to write millions of hopeful letters to Santa and post them in the special post box in the Co-op? But no. WE don’t get to do that. Instead, we have to listen as our children drone on and on about which Skylanders they like for 5 hours, then take things back to the shop every other day until Christmas Eve because they’ve changed their minds.
Well, it wasn’t always like this. In days of yore, when I was growing up and my grandpa was snoozing loudly in the corner with a box of Eat Me dates on his knee, Christmas was as much about the adults as it was about us.
My Gran had her first sherry at 11am. My mum would put on carols and retreat to the kitchen, where we would occasionally hear muffled swearing and pan throwing. My Dad would come in and be greeted with a chorus of ‘GET OUT OF MY KITCHEN!’ Ah, good times. They called the shots – there was none of this child led Christmas nonsense, where everyone runs rings around the kids. You had to WAIT for your fun, or else.
In fact, what I remember most about Christmas was the waiting. We had our stockings in the morning, then it seemed like hours until Christmas lunch. We weren’t allowed anywhere near the glistening pile of presents under the tree until AFTER TOP OF THE POPS, which was when the washing up was finished. (That probably now appears on the Social Services Top 10 List of Worst Offences – along with most of the presenters of Top of The Pops). With the novelty of our new toys worn off by 9.30am, there were hours and hours of mooching around that not even the sight of Mr Blobby could take the edge off.
So we amused ourselves by trapping our fingers in the nutcracker, spinning baubles around and around, going cross eyed at the Christmas lights and rolling our eyes so we got a strobing light show. Occasionally, I would venture over to pat a present or fondle a ribbon and get told off.
Now of course, children rule the world like mini emperors, and they must have the BEST DAY EVER. Which means running around after them from the crack of dawn to the beginning of the Call The Midwife Christmas Special. If they don’t have a magic filled day, and end up crying inside a cardboard Amazon box, then we assume that we have failed as parents.
But what about us? Don’t we deserve a break? Don’t we deserve a day off? A reward for 365 days of toil? Surely it’s not too much to ask to have five minutes peace to down a layer of Milk Tray and a flagon of prosecco?
In an ideal world, children would get all the magic of opening their presents, then be shuttled off to a giant festive themed soft play by a host of helpful little elves, leaving Mummy and Daddy and all their friends to eat their own weight in stuffing, drink loads of wine and open their presents in front of a roaring fire. There’ll be a little nap and cocktails and board games that AREN’T Mousetrap, and then at about 7pm, the kids will be returned in a flashing sleigh, exhausted and fed, wearing brand new Christmas pyjamas, just in time for a nice snuggle in front of The Snowman.
Can you arrange that for me, Santa? By the way, if you’re listening I also want:
- Cillian Murphy
- A three-day lie in