It was Christmas Day last Saturday (30th January). You hadn’t realised? Were you having a fairly normal-for-January sort of day? I expect you were. You’re not a member of our family, who this year, felt entitled to celebrate the festival on a day that suits us, even though we’d ‘done’ Christmas in December, just as you did. We take our cue from the Queen , who has an official birthday in June in addition to her actual birthday in April.
We had our reasons. The London Team had spent their Christmas in Gloucestershire with Sarah’s parents. The Barcelona Team had spent Christmas in Barcelona with Miquel’s mum. The Ripon team had spent Christmas In Bolton with Ellie, Phil and the twins. Now we wanted to have Christmas with each other.
So we did. The Christmas tree was pressed into service. The Christmas cards re-appeared. Father Christmas briefly came back on duty and made sure that stockings were filled with gifts. Presents materialised under the tree. We even perpetuated a new tradition, begun only last year, of being ill for the duration. Last year, Malcolm and I had flu. This year, Sarah took to her bed within two hours of arrival, though she managed to surface on ‘Christmas Day’. William streamed with cold and was generally off-colour the whole time, and Emily and I coughed and wheezed.
Christmas dinner featured all the trimmings … but no turkey, no goose, nothing like that. The English teams had already done all that on December 25th, and Team Barcelona was pining for a really good British banger. So that’s what we had. Thanks, Geordie Banger Company.
The crackers featured appalling jokes, just as they should, and even more appalling novelties (floppy plastic golf tees, anybody?). William was entranced by the flaming of the Christmas pudding. And in the best tradition of all family Christmases with a baby in tow, playing with noisy, rustly wrapping paper and discarded ribbon offered the best fun of all. There’s a lot to be said for doing good things twice.