Originally due to be published on Christmas Eve, I was struck down in the prime of life with coughing, spluttering, on-the-verge-of-death flu and have only just recovered enough in order to post. Whilst sorry for the delay I hope you can now settle down with the dregs of the selection box and cast your mind back to just a few short weeks ago…
“How can you not know what Brio is? Didn’t you ever go to the Early learning Centre when you were little?”
“No. We went to the Cash & Carry.”
Listen carefully and you can actually hear his eyes roll. You see his childhood was all wooden train sets; mine was training to set tables (we lived in a pub). My small family and I never quite got the hang of decking the halls and fa la la la la-ing. But then I met himself and I fell head over heels, right into a bucket of Christmas cheer sung loud for all to hear. We’d only been together a few of months when I received my invite to his family Christmas. I readily accepted, after all, it was July; there was plenty of time for circumstances to change and his enthusiasm to wane. So on 25 December mum and I were duly collected from our grotto (the gargoyle had a Santa hat on) and taken to a family winter wonderland full of people. Happy smiling ones.
Stood in the doorway I observed that this was all new; I’d not seen one of these before. But looking closely I could see that this was most definitely one of those elusive family Christmases I’d heard whispers of. All the components were there. Wrapping paper strewn over a merrily decorated lounge, children playing with their toys (aged 27 and 25 respectively) and grandparents peacefully pickling in port. Brussels were being peeled and bucks fizz was being poured. Mince pies were baking and the beautifully decorated HANDMADE Christmas cake (they don’t all come from M&S, who knew?) took pride of place in the dining room. Christmas songs filled the house and the fibres of my brand new Christmas jumper (pre requisite) vibrated along with Mariah’s high notes. Yep, there was no denying it, this, this was Christmas.
We were bustled inside, sat down, exchanged pressies and within 5 minutes both mum and I felt wholly part of the fam. It could have been the intoxicating festive spirits (port and brandy) or it could have been the huge festive family hug we were enveloped in, but our Christmas indifference started to evaporate. Evidently it really was the season to be jolly and what previous experience had led us to believe (that it was the season to be friggin’ miserable) wasn’t the case. If Christmas cheer was contagious, we caught the bug. I was struck down with festive fever, Christmas pox and a chronic case of tinselistis*. It utterly transformed me and my less than merry attitude. I had my eyes opened to a happy family time where everyone got together to enjoy each other’s company, eat, drink and get pissed. In contrast to previous Christmases where I wished I had a family to celebrate with, I realised that that was the celebration. People, family, it’s what I’d been missing and now I had it. It was my own little Tiny Tim Christmas miracle.
*courtesy of a cracker