Tag Archives: Christmas

Twelth night, or what you make of it

For sale:

6 brace of game-birds (partridges) well hung

A perry orchard (one dozen trees)

A flock of pigeons (22 birds, mainly white)

A flock of fancy hens (30 birds)

Song-birds, (36 available in singles or pairs – cages supplied to first 9 applicants)

A large flock of geese, good layers (42 birds, will separate)

21 pairs of swans (only to homes with open water)

Herd of cattle (40 beasts, TB tested, from BSE-free herds, good milkers)

Available for hire:

Dairy operatives (40 available for reasonable rates, will travel)

Dance troupe (36 females, 30 males, fancy costumes included)

Military-style band (22 woodwind players, 12 percussionists)

“christmas poems with swear words”

Someone landed here who had been looking for “christmas poems with swear words”.

I really wish they hadn’t.

You know I want to write one now.

I know you hope I won’t.

Festive Quiz

This quiz makes some assumptions about the way that various mid-winter festivals are celebrated in the modern world. Feel free to change it to suit your circumstances.

Which mid-winter festival(s) did your family celebrate when you were a child?


Which mid-winter festival(s) do you celebrate as an adult?

None. Oh, ok. Christmas if you insist.

And New Year, so long as it doesn’t involve being snogged by strangers.

Earliest Midwinter / Christmas / Hanukkah / Diwali / Solstice / New Year / etc memory?

Not sure, just a general feeling of sustained excitement, I think. It was always wonderful when the Christmas decorations go up.

How did you find out that Santa does not exist?

Again, I am not sure, I think I always knew he came into the same category as fairy-stories – I remember writing my Christmas Letter to Santa and burning it on the fire, thinking “well, the grown-ups expect it, don’t they”.

How old were you?

See above. 5?

Bestest ever ever EVER present?

A toy typewriter. Aged 5. Though I was bitterly disappointed that it took me another decade to learn to type.

It’s better to give than receive – which gift that you gave someone else pleased you the most to give?

Tricky, this one. I gave my father a garden bench once, but that was a birthday present. But it did please me to give it to him.

Favourite festive tradition?

Carol singing, as a singer or an audient. But it must be real singers and real carols. I have been known to accost the organisers of mechanical carol floats and abuse them. It is just possible that abusing the organisers of mechanical carol singing is in fact my favourite festive tradition.

Least favourite festive tradition?

Over-eating. In what possible world do we need mincemeat pies and christmas cake and christmas pudding and stollen and marzipan logs all on the same day? The trouble is that we have accreted traditions rather than selected them.

What do you eat for your main festival meal?

Turkey and trimmings usually, and christmas pud.

Who prepares it?

It varies, this year it’ll be me and the one I prepare meals with.

How long is your (Christmas) card list?

Dunno. 30-ish. It used to be longer, but my most recently gained friends are on-line.

Presents – all at once or one at a time?

One at a time, for preference. I’m nosey and like to see who’s got what.

Worst ever festive memory?

Flu. Real, bone aching, head throbbing, feverish, wish-I-were-dead-RIGHT-NOW flu.

Just what, exactly, do you understand by the phrase “all the trimmings”?

Cocktail saussages with streaky bacon wrapped around them. Roast potatoes. Sprouts. Carrots. Another veg, probably leeks. Stuffing, two kinds, one each end. And gravy which has had to be seived, because there was a sudden disaster with the flour.

Stocking or pillow-case?


Queen’s speech or James Bond?

Neither Either. Not bothered.

Best yule-tide film?

Another tricky one, because I watch so few movies. I am trying really hard not to type “It’s a Wonderful Life”, especially as I’ve only seen about 45 minutes of it.

Least toe-curlingly awful Seasonal Special of a normal TV show?

Got to be Angela Rippon’s appearance on Morcambe and Wise. Who’d have thought she had legs, let alone such long ones. I can actually remember the feeling of “oh my god, what’s happened, it’s CHRISTMAS, it must be something AWFUL” when she appeared on the screen when it first went out. Yes, I am that old. Just.

Strangest festive tradition or habit of a family other than your own?

My former in-laws all open their presents at the same time, rip the paper and throw it away afterwards. This deeply shocked me the first time I spent Christmas with them. It also meant that I’d no idea who’d got what for Christmas. Very disappointing if you’re half as curious about these things as I was.

Oh, and they play Canasta. Or scrabble.

How early is “too early” as in “Christmas starts too early these days”?

You don’t want to know my answer to this one. More realistically, anything before December is “too early” in my book.

Have you ever been to the appropriate religious ceremony on the festive day, such as Midnight Mass or Eucharist on Christmas Day If so, when was the last time you went?

Midnight mass – I went two years ago; I rather like Midnight Mass. Church on Christmas Day? A year or so before that, as light relief from the Buddhists. I’d been to a Buddhist Puja on the same day, which was peaceful.

(UK only) Farepak – have you given? http://www.farepakresponsefund.org.uk/

Not yet.

Single mother, pregnant and homeless? Crisis is another appropriate cause.

Those Christmas puds look good.

Addresses, Google and Multimap

As kelli, Z and I have been discussing, it’s that time of year again. Find your address book. Dig out that old spread-sheet. Look up your Outlook. It’s time to send Christmas Cards.

The problem is that I have lost my address book, I cannot face getting Outlook up and working on this PC, and the spreadsheet never really existed in its own right, I think it was populated from Outlook.

I’ve emailed my siblings and they have emailed me a lot of family and friends-of-family addresses.

I texted my ex and he emailed me his parents’ and siblings’ addresses.

I’ve got CF’s address because her son’s CV’s sitting in my inbox. I heard a rumour that CB was driving horses in Sailisbury and thanks to Google and faxes I managed to track her down. I Googled JT and got her contact details from when she was practising acupuncture from consulting rooms at home.

But there are friends of mine, former colleagues in particular, who I only have the email addresses of, and not even those when they change jobs. I spent an entire evening drawing a blank looking for RG. I rented a room from her once, so I looked the street up on Multimap and the postcode with a postcode finder. Let’s hope the postie knows the number of her house, and that she hasn’t moved.

Christmas comes but once a year, but lasts for bloody months….

I feel incredibly ambivalent about Christmas. On the one hand it can be a truly magical time of year. On the other hand – ach – insert “Bah! Humbuggery” here. I used to spend Christmas on a feminist retreat with the Buddhists. There is nothing like synchronised periods, pins and needles and flatulence for putting the whole thing into a spiritual perspective.

I have just spent the evening wrapping some presents ready for posting tomorrow, and have written one of those tedious round robins which we all wince over every year. Mine of course is a masterpiece of wit and a delightful syllabub of anecdotage and whimsical humour. (Isn’t “whimsical” a word to put dread into anyone’s heart?).

I don’t really need to do it. I have no children, so I cannot impress. (My godmother has genuinely impressive children – a son who travels from country to country telling their Finance Ministries what to do, another who’s about to be a QC and is married to one of Blair’s babes, a third who’s one of the few internet moguls who’s dot didn’t bomb, and the youngest of whom is equally successful in the army. And they are nice people. Which is even more annoying. And since they are all either a couple of years older or younger than me, the whole thing is incredibly insecure-making. I feel utterly worthless on or about December 10th every year. Enough. It is time to draw this bracket to a close.)

Where was I? Oh yes. The Christmas Round Robin. The Entirely-Pointless-in-my-case Christmas Round Robin, though it was useful to be able to tell everyone about my divorce in one fell swoop: “Happy Christmas! Oh, by the way, we’ve split up and I got custody of the Christmas-Card list”.

The thing is, that for the last 8 or so years I have been writing them to hide more than they reveal. Since I strayed from the path of the conventionally married, I have come to regard my private life as being private. Now my life is deliciously and delightfully dull (other than the bits of it that aren’t) so earlier this evening I found myself writing to my distant cousins and my mother’s bridesmaids to tell them that I moved house last year and I joined the WI.

I really have no idea whether or not it’s worth it.

Perhaps I should just send them a link to this blog, or one of those bloody memes, and be done with it.

I think I’ll spend the rest of this month devising a Christmas meme to launch on the 1st of December. That’ll cheer me up. Bitch that I am.

Bah, as I said. Hummmmmmm….BUG.