In which our reluctant hero ponders traditions, which is quite normal for this time of year.
Where do mysteries come from? Nobody knows. The same may be said about traditions. Well in my world anyway.
a long-established custom or belief that has been passed on from one generation to another.
Each year since starting a family, I have pondered laying down some Christmas traditions of my own. And each year, I quickly give up. This is (I think) largely because I can’t think of anything sensible to adopt, be it routine, food, dress choices, or pretty much anything else associated with the big day.
Cracking open the Champagne first thing on Christmas morning seems to be, rather ironically, a very British tradition these days. As is serving eggs benedict or smoked salmon for breakfast, usually with said bubbles. Faff and drunkenness by eight a.m. doesn’t really seem the best way to prepare for a twelve hours plus marathon of overexcited children and general chaos to me. Scrub that.
Roast turkey is a traditional Christmas lunch despite nobody really liking it and secretly wishing that they could ditch the bird and just have a mountain of pigs in blankets instead.
We had beef last year and lamb the year before. Hardly a model of consistency. This year will probably be the Bernard Matthews Turkey Roast (if I can get away with it – I won’t) or whatever is on offer in Aldi, provided that it’s not goose.
Have you ever cooked a goose by the way? It’s pretty much a four hour exercise in preventing the oven and house catching fire, with about the same meat as in a couple of Turkey Twizzlers left at the end.
Perhaps adopting something ridiculous is the answer. Having recently learned that Kurisumasu ni wa Kentakkii, or “Kentucky for Christmas” is an actual thing in Japan, a KFC Bargain Bucket may be the rather greasy future. Plus there’s the added bonus of no washing up to do, asides from the sprout pan.
As it’s a special day, should I wear a suit or go for the more practical option of pyjamas all day? The latter seems far more appealing, although driving to church in slippers is asking for trouble. Alternatively, we could all rollerskate there like the residents of Caracas do every Christmas morning. Yes, really. I also suspect that the first verse of Once In Royal David’s City would be drowned out by a chorus of tuts from the congregation.
What about other things? Should we leave “sleigh tracks” down the lawn, or should I dress as Santa? The Boxing Day swim is another tradition that many folk partake in, but with Wolverhampton being about as far away from the sea as anywhere in Britain that limits options to stripping off and diving into the inch of water left in Tettenhall Pool. No thank you.
Despite the obvious lack of activities to adopt as a new tradition, the other thing that makes me throw in the proverbial towel (straight into the washing machine – there’s bound to be another load due since I started writing this) is the lack of time. Time. There was never enough pre-children, but post? Forget it.
We did a homemade variation of the Elf thing this year (his eyes didn’t start off that wonky by the way) with the difference being there was less random naughtiness and more doing stuff. Will that become a tradition? Maybe. It has certainly been good for the craft pile and the children have loved it. But it has taken a lot of time and effort, mostly by mum, especially on nursery and playgroup days.
By the time the we’ve got up on Christmas Eve, bought the stuff for Christmas lunch, dropped the food parcel off for the homeless people, met our friends (who turn up from the West Midlands and beyond) at midday at our old local for lunch, got back, put out the carrots, mince pie and sherry for Rudolph and Father Christmas, scattered the reindeer food about, walked to the end of the street to scan the horizon for passing sleighs (it coincidentally covers the flightpath for Birmingham Airport), got our pyjamas on and watched a Christmas film, there’s just no time for Christmas traditions.
A load of things that we do, that I don’t really remember starting but we do every year nonetheless.
So, the moral of the traditions story? Less over thinking and more doing and it’ll all sort itself out in a couple of years time. A bit like parenting.