One of my best Christmas Days ever involved a fire, the power going off, nephews being shuttled off to stock up on ice, an overworked gas barbecue, unyielding heat, and a complete last-minute revision of the lunch menu (which happened more around dinner time).
Oh, and my brother-in-law being whacked across the chest with a damp tea towel.
He had slept in on Christmas morning as the other adults had “problem solved” and wandered into the kitchen around 11am to ask his sister, “Why are you looking so stressed?”
What a Christmas Day.
It seems to be completely naff to like Christmas these days.
It's too much effort. (true)
It promotes waste. (true)
It can blow out financially. (true)
It can heighten family issues. (true)
It's an OTT, indulgent celebration when some people have nothing. (true)
It puts way too much pressure on women. (true)
Everywhere I turn there are stories on How to enjoy Christmas solo. Or A guide to get away from family this Christmas. Or A Christmas cheat sheet for introverts.
Yes. Yes. Okay.
Then there are "rules" about how to do Christmas. The 12 questions not to ask family at Christmas. Six Buddhist phrases to help you deal with your mother this Christmas. (Hint: maybe you won't have to take up a new religion if you just bring a salad, pretend you don't have a hangover and do more than load the dishwasher - once. You're an adult now too). The seven rules for slow walkers Christmas shopping. The five tricks to avoid the Silly Season altogether.
Sure, Christmas isn't perfect. But can you just let me have Christmas Day? (I'm not even the type who wears a reindeer antler headband.)
The thing is some of us, not all, really like this ridiculous, stressful, hypocritical time of year.
Some, who are lucky enough to not be alone, or are not missing a loved one, or are healing from missing a loved one, don't mind wiping down the dirty trestle table in the garage and then chipping the doorframe as we take it inside (at the time, we do mind and we swear and blame the the big chunk taken out of the frame on the person we are carrying the table with, because that person is usually family and they have to love you).
Some people look forward to the endless phone calls and text messages in the lead up to Christmas Day with our mums over what salads we should make and whether or not it's time to get rid of the ham and go all 1999 and only do seafood.
We look forward to kids making Christmas wish lists and getting excited about seeing their cousins and endless conversations about the hideousness of plum pudding.
"Why would anyone choose to eat THAT as a DESSERT?" they ask truly dumbfounded.
"It's only old people who eat plum pudding, it will die out soon."
"Custard is vile."