Christmas 2015

This was the first Christmas we’ve spent in England in years. In fact, when I reviewed all the previous Christmases in my blog (and here and here), I realised that the last time I was in England for Christmas was in 2008, before I even started dating my wife. Have we neglected another Christmas tradition we had, of not being in London at Christmas? (Not to mention not having La Serpiente’s tongue turn black, or watching Harold And Kumar’s Very 3D Christmas)

I’m coming down with a cold – probably a function of the ludicrous travel schedule I’ve had over the past month – which meant I felt a bit subdued this Christmas. We had a true embarassment of riches – La Serpiente and Destroyer both had sacks of presents from their grandparents that were bigger than they were, and even after a day of unwrapping we still have mounds of presents for them to open. I had a pretty good haul myself: lots of shirts, books and chocolate, and grooming equipment to keep my moustache in check, but La Serpiente had an avalanche of books, to the point that I think she’ll be three years old before we’ve worked our way through all of them.

My cold was hitting me so badly that by 9:30 I had to take myself back to bed; I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and sat wheezing on the sofa unclear as to whether I was terribly ill or suffering an anxiety attack about being ill. I slept for an hour and felt a little better, and then wandered back into the maelstrom of present opening.

We took the kids out for a walk to Crease Park, and La Serpiente spent a happy half hour running around and sliding down the slide. We met an enormous dog, and then a much smaller dog that was dressed up as a Christmas pudding, then went back to the house and opened more presents, until the children went to sleep. And we could then open presents in peace.

At two, we sat down to lunch, and I was crammed full of tofurkey. My mother had bought four tofurkey roasts, and since everyone else is eating real turkey and as I only managed to get through half of one roast today, I’m worried that I’ll be flying back to Singapore with my pockets full of fake meat. Which sounds like a horrendous innuendo. So stuffed with food were we that we didn’t even start on the Christmas pudding until 6 this evening.

In between whiles, we sat down together and watched Stickman, the television version of a Julia Donaldson story for kids about an anthropomorphic stick that is snatched cruelly away from its family. About two thirds of the way through, Felicity began to look like she was going to cry, so sad did the story become. Happily, with the end of it emotional catharsis arrived and she returned to her usual state of jumping up and down and being excited about everything. We now have two cultural objects that are capable of reducing our eldest to tears, and she only has one (Love You Forever) to retaliate with. So I think we’re winning out.

Tonight she made a valiant effort to stay up much too late. I hid downstairs and read Pirates! In an Adventure with the Romantics, and failed to see the point of Downton Abbey. Are those enough traditions created for the next year to miss?

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