Monday, December 10, 2012

the cynic's a-z of christmas

Been a while since I did one of these.

Christmas has changed a lot for me over the last few years.
Never been the hugest fan of Christmas. Everyone kind of endures it with gritted teeth, at least one fight breaks out, and families, all with different dynamics, are forced to be merry together under the guise of 'organised fun.'

Most of my Christmas' have been really low key, being from a small family and now-divorced parents.  They've involved a turkey on the braai, water and skimpy clothing (If any. Have been known to stroll around the family home in my underpants.)

Christmas' were spent outside, mainly comatose, sweating from every orifice in our bodies. Then,  after big family lunches were no longer, I instead chose to backpack during Christmas. It's definitely the best time to do it. So for a few years, I would take to the climes of Brazil, Argentina and Mexico - to avoid the whole sordid affair mostly, and to also quash my travelling bug.

Now in the fourth year, I have spent Christmas in England with the Brit's family. I'd be lying if I said it hasn't taken some getting used to. Everyone squashed into one room, freezing outside, lively children with lots of pent up energy. The only thing that is concurrent with Saffa Christmas' are the meat sweats.
Lots of sweating, just indoors.

So with this in mind, the A-Z of Peas' Northern Hemisphere Christmas:

A is for Air: After a big Christmas meal in England, indoors, the air will be filled with the pungent aroma of Brussels sprout farts.

B is for Bubble & Squeak: The British tradition is to 'fry' the Christmas dinner leftovers the next day. They'll take the sprouts, carrots, potatoes and chopped up meat, bang it all together, fry it, the result being a big fried pancake. Dished up as 'bubble & squeak."

C is for Coma: Inevitable. Succumb to the sleep apnea your body will face for days on end, don't even fight it. Heavy food, eaten in bursts throughout the day, mixed with the sherry, and fueled by indoor heating and Christmas movie reruns. You'll be sleeping standing up if you don't nab a spot on the couch in time.

C is also for Cabin Fever: It's negative five outside. No one is going anywhere. For four days. Which means the lounge is the centre of yours and the greater family's universe for this period of time. Try not to feel trapped; embrace the experience. And drink lots of alcohol.

D is for Doormat: Communal dressing spot. Every English house at Christmas is the same. The doormat is smeared with mud, ice and slush, and there are vast quantities of shoes strewn all around the immediate area. And scarves. And hats. And coats that have fallen off hooks.

E is for Erstwhile: ........

F is for Flakes: Snow is the Christmas present from the Universe that we wait for every year. Because then everyone does bother to go outside. And there's always someone who sculpts the giant penis on the front lawn.

F is also for Fire: A big crackling one, that you can occasionally poke at when you're bored, add logs to and stare at for hours on end.

G is for [Christmas] Glossary: High fives.

H is for Holly: The real kind. The berries are out, there is loads of it overhanging onto the pavements. Don't get stuck in a holly bush though, it's very pokey.

I is for Ice: Streets and train platforms are awash with salted grit this time of year, to help cull fatal slippage. Black ice is the kind that you can't see, so one minute you're walking, the next you're in a ward in A&E.

J is for Jesus: Baby Jesus. Not baby cheeses.
And jumpers. Obvs.

K is for Klingfilm: Dive into the fridge the next day, and you'll be greeted by a wall of Klingfilm. Dive further and you'll find various gammon bits, turkey slices, balls of stuffing and bubble & squeak in the Klingfilm. All of which make the best sandwich fillers for days to come.

L is Large: Christmas is large any way you look at it. Traditionally, you eat large meals, in large wooly jumpers, around a large table, amongst a large family. You have large hangovers, large comas, and you leave with a large arse. You also leave with large resolutions, promising that by large, you'll never do it again.

M is for Mulled:  If the alcohol hasn't been brewed over a stove top, it's not worth drinking. (Unless it's bubbly.) Christmas is Christmas in the northern hemisphere because you can drink hot spicy wine and hot cider, at any given pub or any house.

N is for Nordic: The 'tasteful' variety of Christmas attire. Snowflake shapes, elk and patterns that find their way onto woolly scarves, hats and jumpers.

O is for O Come All Ye Faithful: There's Carols by candlelight at the church on our street. I'm atheist. Can we still go?

P is for Prosecco and Pig's blankets in the Pub: One bandwagon that I've jumped on is the Christmas Eve pub night, filled with prosecco and pork sausages wrapped in bacon, the classic Christmas canape. ('Pig's blankets.') You wake up feeling appalling on Christmas Day, but that's neither here or there.

Q is for Queen's Speech:  Everyone huddles around the TV at 3pm to hear pretty much the same thing she says every year.

R is for Rea, Chris: He drives home for Christmas.

S is for Secret Santa:  The office has one, and so does the family. This is how Christmas' work when you're an adult.

T is for Turkey:  By jove, is there a lot of it going around. (Bird. Not country.)

U is for U-Haul van:  I'll need one to move my ass when this is done with.

V is for Virgin Mary:  The true reason I am an atheist. Try and convince me that immaculate conception could actually happen in the name of science.

W is for Wellies: Best Christmas shoe attire. When you need to free yourself of the cabin fever, in comfort, you can whack on the old wellies and muck about in the mud outside.

X if for Xylitol: Whose idea was it to give the kids xylophones for Christmas? Take xylitol. For the xylophones.

Z is for Zzzzzzzzzzz: I plan to sleep in for the entire week. Alarm free.


Kate said...

Since my sister immigrated to the UK a handful of years ago, the rest of the family went over for the festive season 4 years back. I loved the mulled wine and the cold, but the lack of daylight hours really got to me. Oh, and my mother decided it was the perfect time to don a pair of ice skates for the first time in over a decade, fell and shattered her right leg. We got to know the Royal Cornwall hospital and surrounding town rather well. Ah, the memories.

Pebbles said...

E is for Eggnog :-D