This Christmas has been very different from last year. Last year, I had one of my best friends round at my flat to stay and we ended up having plenty to drink, staying up late listening to music, chatting and having the carefree time that you’d expect two thirty-something (nearly) singletons to have. I also ended up having two Christmas dinners. One that I cooked, with my friend at home, and the other with my girlfriend at the time’s parents. Both were delicious and, despite living through the plot of an episode of a bad seventies sitcom, I had a really good day, all in all, even if I was stuffed beyond belief with turkey, potatoes and vegetables and was running the risk of overdosing on brussels sprouts.
How did I end up having two Christmas dinners? Well, it was my own fault, really. I’d actually tried to split up with my girlfriend about a week prior to Christmas and, even though she persuaded me to keep things going, I didn’t think she’d expect me to go through with going to dinner at her parents, mainly because things hadn’t been going that great. So, thinking that I was free for Christmas Day, I invited my friend round instead. Unfortunately, she didn’t want to tell them that I wasn’t coming, so I wimped out of making the best decision and agreed to do both, providing that I was only away from home for a few hours. Her family was lovely and it was a nice few hours, so it wasn’t exactly a chore, but I did feel bad being there, being fairly certain that I didn’t have a long-term future with her. We split up just over a week later, as it turns out. I don’t want to say anything mean about her, because she was a really nice person – but we just didn’t connect in the way you need to when you’re anticipating a lifetime together. That, and the fact that it would have been a real problem being with someone when you fancied their sister more.
Towards the end of January this year, I met my current partner (who I absolutely adore) and moved in with her, her three fantastic children and their beautiful (but slightly mental) dog in the late summer. So, going from a quiet (albeit slightly farcical) Christmas to a fully blown family celebration was definitely a bit of a contrast. A bit like being the milk monitor at school and then being expected to run the Unigate Dairy the year after. It being my first Christmas with my new family, I wanted to make it one to remember, so lots of effort has gone into the whole experience, culminating in cooking a massive dinner with ten different things on the plate (which would have fed around ten people) and pretty much clearing out our bank accounts. It’s been utterly draining, but immensely rewarding and completely worth it. It definitely makes me appreciate exactly what my Mum used to do for us when we were kids and I hope that I’ve given our three a Christmas to remember as a result. We ended up going to bed exhausted, but happy, very much looking forward to a lie-in.
Last year’s Boxing Day morning started at not much before midday, with both myself and Robert sleeping off the plentiful amounts of beer and wine consumed the day before and we got ready at our leisure in anticipation of a party at our friends’ which was taking place that afternoon. This year, Boxing Day morning started at approximately 8.45 a.m. with the kids informing us that Simba, our beloved Labrador cross, had sat at the top of the stairs and happily emptied his bladder, making a beautiful golden fountain cascade down our wooden stairs, congregating in a joyous puddle of stinky canine urine at the bottom. I’ve decided that it’s probably revenge for not allowing him any more mince pies. I don’t mind telling you that mopping up a couple of pints of rancid dog piss before 9 a.m. on Boxing Day morning isn’t exactly my idea of a relaxing start to the day. After cleaning the floor and stairs thoroughly, I retired back to bed, feeling ill, and got back up a few hours later, in a slightly better mood.
After spending a couple of hours seemingly catering for four hundred people with a massive buffet of cold meat, salad and party food (which I didn’t get from Iceland, thank you very much), I’m now sitting in a kitchen full of half-eaten plates of food and piles and piles (and piles) of washing up, with the two youngest girls running in-and-out every five minutes, picking at said food, our teenage boy upstairs on his new X Box Kinect, which he’s been glued to ever since yesterday morning, my sweetheart crashed out on the sofa in the living room with her new Kindle in her hands and the dog is, thankfully, keeping the contents of his bladder to himself. It’s chaos. Everything is everywhere, I’m knackered and I’ve barely had a moment to myself in the last few days… and I’ve loved every single minute. Apart from cleaning up Simba’s piss, of course. That sucked monkey balls.
Anyway, to paraphrase Paul McCartney – I hope, like me, you’re all simply having a wonderful Christmastime. Thanks for reading!