Wednesday 15 December 2010


Christmas is coming. Those of you trying to escape from the inevitable, surrender, it’s bigger than you (those of you that don’t celebrate, substitute ‘holidays’ wherever you see the word Christmas. I’m too tired to be socially aware this morning). I love Christmas, always have. I’m not sure if it’s the holiday itself – the decorations, the fat bearded man in the suit spreading good cheer, or the coming together of family, but I always look forward to this time of year.

Our family doesn’t do anything out of the norm per se, but it is the mere fact that for one day we try to get as many of us under one roof as possible – not an easy feat. This usually means I’m either on one side of the pond with one group, or flying across to the other side to join the other portion of my family. We’re a big group, it must be said, and from the looks of it, we’re only getting bigger (In numbers, not size. We do our best to keep from sharing Santa’s pant size).

As kids, on Christmas Eve, we always got to open one gift. I would of course have to size up every gift in my pile and then pick the one that would satisfy my curiosity but would not overshadow what was to come the next day. Yes, I gave this serious thought. Then midnight mass would roll around and my mother would insist that we come to mass with her, or try anyway. This is when us heathens would run and hide with my father and claim religious freedom on the grounds of going to church at that hour was downright persecution.

On Christmas day itself, we have the customary feast, you know the one where you eat double your body weight and wonder why you torture yourself. My dad is always in charge of the music; I don’t know about you, but hearing Bing Crosby sing as I stuff pumpkin pie into my gob always turns me into a nostalgic little kid. Then we add our own family twist on things and watch as many movies as possible. Pre grandkids this involved going to a film on opening day, and braving the elements – the fray of course, not the weather. Of course picking the right film is essential. One year we didn’t think things through and ended up watching "Frances" with Jessica Lange. For those of you that have not seen it, it’s not, I repeat NOT something you want to watch at Christmas time, especially when there is a hot oven on only feet away from you. Anything that partially takes place in an institution (of any kind) should be saved until you have a bottle of Prozac in your hands. I’m thinking the lighter the fare, the better. In fact, even Adam Sandler may be too somber for a seasonal flick.

This year I’m doing my first Californian Christmas in quite sometime. The last several have been spent in the freezing snow, which I always thought added to the mood of the season. I must be honest, I find a sunny Christmas day a bit of an oddity and it never quite feels right. I’m never sure what to do with myself and I end up wishing a gigantic snow cloud would sweep across the 405 freeway and dump itself on unsuspecting Hollywood. Then again, people in that city can’t drive in the rain to save their lives. I think snow would cause the city to implode.

The best part of this year of course is now I can introduce Christmas to the King. Although at this point in his young life his biggest thrill is the sound crumpled wrapping paper makes. Cheap date. My partner actually told someone to get him a ream of white paper as a gift. I of course forgot to mention they should throw in a tin of Bandaids as the paper cuts in his future will be in the high numbers.

Saying all this, considering the weather in England at the moment, let’s hope I even make it across the pond. Santa has it so easy, he gets to skip the holiday airport rush, security, intrusive body checks and wear elastic with plenty of give. Lucky bastard.

Happy Holidays Everyone! 
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