Christmas. There is, of course, a chaos of wrapping paper in the living room. I’m still feeling a bit crappy, so I perch on the sofa and wait for the chance to have a cup of tea.
As relatives arrive, non-child-related presents are opened, a process that’s drawn skillfully out to lunch. My own gifts boywards are greeted with less than fulsome praise, probably because I’ve failed to get behind this year’s programme (Note to J.K. Rowling: You will be receiving considerably less money from this family this year than last. Apologies), a lapse that I know will never be forgiven as long as I live.
There is lunch, and some allowances have been made to me as a teetotal vegetarian. Being that benighted species, the only way I could be less christmassy is by embracing Islam. Or Satanism. Or something.
Then there is the post-prandial sitting-around-and-watching-the-new-presents-being-tried-out. Which is important. They have reinvented the battling top for the twenty-first century. There are also small plastic creatures that flash lights and twitter and beat out Bruford-esque rhythms with their wing-things and feet. Apparantly they interact, and I’m not prepared to disagree.
What else is there to say about Christmas? There is no doubt goodwill, at least across Europe, the Americas and the Expat communities in the Middle East; There is a wedding and a death on Eastenders (a wedding is much-loved by the soap-watching community as the preamble to a future, long-running and agonising adultery plot), while on Corrie Emily Bishop vies for the coveted “Most Unexpectedly Indestructible Woman Ever” award (and what about Gail Tilsley’s taste in men? Shouldn’t the council have stepped in to stop her coupling, on grounds of public safety?); Angels are, I’m sure, doing stuff.
The television is, as everyone traditionally says, terrible. On the one day of the year when we can be sure that millions of people will be doing nothing other than slouching in front of the box with no resistance or standards whatsoever, it’s like they want to give these steaming piles of ordure a chance to be seen by somebody who, given normal standards of judgement and remote control technique wouldn’t watch a second. The same thing is true of what they show on Friday nights at pub closing time.
Don’t talk to me about the True Meaning of Christmas. The True Meaning of Christmas is “it’s the middle of the winter and it’ll be at least four months before the temperature improves noticeably. Give me too much food and drink”. The stuff with the angels and the goodwill and the sprigs of evergreen is just a cover.