Janet Christie’s Mum’s the word

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Our Christmas is rubbish, just the way we like it

So you know how you’re all going to be with Other Parent in The Fatherland for Christmas,” I say to Youngest as the Season of Goodwill looms.

“Ye-es,” she says, cautious, suspicious...

“How about we just give it a miss this year?”

“How about we just do it when we come back?” she fires back. “Or before we go?”

“OK, when you come back is best,” I say quickly, going for the least worst option. There is no escape and I’ll probably have a Scrooge/Grinch/Elf’s dad epiphany sometime around my second eggnog on Christmas Day and realise it’s a most wonderful time of the year, sniff. Plus it means I can hit the shops on Boxing Day for their presents.

I’ll lounge around in my PJs quite happily, watch box sets, stare into the abyss, eat takeaways, paint the cornices, until they get back. Because Christmas is not ‘just one day you have to get through’, no matter what the Tedtalkers, positive thinkers and those who haven’t been blessed with the gift of the blended family tell us. It’s a whole advent calendar of slightly out of sync seasonal socialising and mis-timed traditions that have to be re-wrapped, reheated and served up twice, thrice, ad nauseum, often literally. Ditto New Year, or Groundhogmanay as it’s known in these parts.

“Well I’ll be here on Christmas Day,” says Eldest, unexpectedly, smiling at me.


“Yeah, I’m staying here now and The Girlfriend’s coming round, cos her lot are working.”

“Aw, that’s nice,” I say, recovering quickly. “Romantic. I could go out/abroad and you two can have the house to yourselves and…”

“Ha, ha, no, we’ll have Christmas with you mum, it’ll be really good,” he says. “And you don’t have to cook. We’ll open some presents, go out for a curry, come back and watch films and ...”

“Aw…” says Youngest. “I’D like to do that.”

“It won’t be THAT good though,” says Eldest, quickly.

“No, it’ll be a bit rubbish really,” I tell her (thinking it sounds great).

“I LIKE our rubbish Christmases,” she says.

“So do I,” I say. “But don’t worry, it’ll be rubbish second time round. I promise. It’s traditional.”

Merry Christmas, even if yours is a bit rubbish.