Thursday, 23 December 2010

Then and now

Time was that by 23rd December I was knackered as a result of 23 days of parties, drinks dos, dinners, and theatre trips. December was a write off vis a vis sleep, and rest. Consequently, come 24th December, every year, I'd get sick, and spend Christmas day sniffling, and wheezing and dozing off.

This year I've spent December planning for and attending craft fairs, sitting up until the wee-small hours stringing beads until my eyes watered. I've been out, of course. I am not a girl who goes long without a glass of red in her hand. But it's not been the nightly occurrence that it was of Decembers a decade ago. Yet still I'm knackered. Still I only finished my Christmas shopping yesterday. Still I've only just wrapped everything. And STILL I'm now sniffling a bit and feeling a bit under the weather. Still, it's traditional I suppose.

Of course, the whole thing used to culminate in Christmas Eve drinks. The gang of terrific friends that I grew up with would all descend on the Beauty of Bath, the seediest pub in England, and drink wine out of a tap, and warm lager, and generally make merry, then all stumble back to one of our houses and see if we could catch Santa in the act of putting out the presents. We never did.

But these days, most of the gang live away, and the time in the home town for Christmas is precious. Plus they all have children, and apparently Christmas is all about them. Honestly. Kids are SO me, me, me. Pah! So the boozy night out doesn't happen now.

Back in the day when it should have been all about ME, I would fret. In retrospect, I was a nervous child. On Christmas Eve, when I was small, I would lie in bed for hours worrying about what presents I might have been bought. I don't mean that I worried that I would get what I wanted, but what if I was bought something that I really didn't want, and then I'd have to say I liked it, and it would have been a waste, and how would I pretend to like it, and ... and ... and ... Like I say, I was an anxious wee thing.

Now, I sleep like a log. All the time, actually (another post for another time, I think, on a theme of my semi-narcoleptic tendencies). The red wine helps, of course. But I don't worry so much about what I might or might not get any more. Nothing, after all, can be as hard to be positive about as the year I was bought a roll of draught excluder tape by my mother. I worry more that people will like what I've bought them. This year I think I've got Brother and Father Tooting sorted, but I suspect that Mother Tooting will upcycle my gifts to her. Again ...

And decorations used to be a big thing to us Tootings. They'd go up not the weekend RIGHT before Christmas, but the weekend before that. A tree that touched the ceiling, adorned with EVERY bauble in the box, including the ones we made at nursery, the ones that came free in Happy Meals, the ones that were broken, but still shiny. If you could still see tree, there wasn't enough on it. Then we'd hang streamers from the ceiling, and hook things over the pictures, and put a second small tree in the front window, and lights in the outside tree, and dangly things along the hall ceiling and a garland up the stairs and a wreath on the door and mistletoe in the doorway (x) and more besides.

My house is minimalist. There's no tree. I just think it'd be in the way, wherever it went. And absolutely no streamers. There's a garland on the stairs, and a six inch tall sparkly tree on the mantle piece, and the mistletoe, of course. And that's about it.

So tomorrow, I'm off to the Tooting country residence for a couple of happy family days; odd presents, giant mental tree, and all.

Happy Christmas to everyone in blogland. Have a good one!

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