Thursday, 27 December 2012

The Perfect Christmas

I know it's premature, but it's about now that I start to look back on Christmas and think - well, was it any good? Reflect on the adventures of the last few days and think - well, maybe it will be better next year. The Ale will be real-er; the wine more sparkling; the children more adorable; the angels more exultant.

Obviously, every Christmas has its moments. I think in particular of Hnaef attempting to climb in through his front window dressed as Santa on Christmas Eve, being bashed over the head by his eldest on suspicion of burglary and impersonating a Saint of the Catholic Church. That made me laugh. And Burton falling off the roof while trying to put that star on the top. On year, Burton will learn. But not next year, I hope.

And, of course, Solstice morning - as we looked out across a rain-infested wilderness and pretended we could see the sun rise. That always brings a lump to the throat, and a suspension to the disbelief.

But here's the odd fact. Unless this is the year that you ended up on life support after falling off the roof, or the house was flooded due to the unfortunate breaking of a dam - there's a good chance this was your perfect Christmas. In years to come you'll look back on those hours of trying to get the new Android tablet to work, or the Miranda Xmas special, or the fact that, due to working in an Internet fulfilment warehouse, you've been back at work since 2am on Boxing day, or the way your kids went on the X-box 23 hours a day and slept the other hour, and you will think to yourself - that was great.

There's a perfection at the heart of Christmas. When you switch off the LED lights on the roof, kick over the singing snowmen, push past the dancing Father Christmas, turn the telly over from the Last of the Summer Wine special from 1984 ("Getting Sam Home", if you were wondering), curry the last of the turkey, and remove yet another ball of wrapping paper from the throat of the kitten before it chokes - there's something beyond all that.

Amongst the sales, and the shepherds, and the Wise Men and the endless manifestations of a  4th Century bishop of Myra / Norse Winter God, there's another little tiny god, laying in a manger. He doesn't say much, he's not remembered by many, but there's a  kind of redemption that he gives, even to a Christmas when you've visited 45 relatives in two days, and three of them are still offended that you only gave them an hour each.

But when the fairy lights, the Cointreau, the baubles and the Chocolate Orange have all gone back in the box till next year, that small god can stick with you, and stay with you all year. With a more transformative effect that a bottle of Cava and a box of Ferrero Rocher, but without that regretful feeling in the morning.

There's nine days left to Christmas. Make the most of them. It's still the perfect Christmas.


  1. ...or even more days, if you count Christmastide as lasting until Candlemas. But you're right - enjoy, and find the perfection in surprising places. Glad yours was a good one!

  2. Ah. The perfect Christmas. All in the mind, thank God.


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