Saturday, November 21, 2009

Christmas... you MUST be joking...

If the levels of stress in every day living and working were not enough, I got an email from John Lewis asking me about our Christimas rules... but... Christmas is MONTHS away...

One of my favourite bloggers is pregnant and recently announced that she's made her cake. After reading this I immediately felt adrenaline rising through my body, my blood pressure dropped, my vision clouded over... it's November. Already. how did this happen?

So began one of what has become our own, personal Christmas rules: I buy the ingredients for the cake and pudding and the Frog starts pointing out how much cheaper it would be to buy them ready made. Apparently, the cost of the cooking gas needed to steam a pudding for 7 hours once a year will break us; the cost of his rusting Saab and its never-ending battery troubles however... well, that's not mine to discuss...

Either way, the rule in this house is that we make the cake in advance (and make a wish while stiring it) then lace it with so much brandy in the intervening weeks that the Spud isn't allowed to have any of the finished product.

I arrived into this marriage with a whole host of Christmas traditions evolved over the years of my childhood. My husband arrived into the marriage with none at all. I was hoping we could develop our own; he was hoping I wouldn't notice it was December. We have however managed to stumble across one or two of our own rules - to whit:

  • The Frog actually instigated our first real rule which is that we open one small present on Christmas Eve (it's very French, apparently).

  • Our Christmas stockings groan under their own weight and are The Best Bit.

  • We have a tree. This is a highly-contested rule due to my own conflict about killing a tree and the Frog's hatred of fallen needles. All the arguments however end every year in us buying whatever is left at the local garden centre on Christmas eve. Last year it was a mammoth. The year before it was a poor, dead, balding, shedding remnant. Poor trees.

  • We give our son a new decoration to hang every year. Each year we found we have lost or broken the one from the previous year.

  • The Frog sneaks away on Christmas Eve to remove half the tree decorations because 'they're tacky and bourgeouis'

  • We always save the best presents for last. The Frog hates this as he is chronically impatient and so he is always trying to work out which one is his 'big' present. This from a man who is over 50 and professes to hate Christmas.

I'm hoping that as the spud grows we'll develop more rules and traditions but for now, I think that's us done.

Now on to get that cake started...

13 comments:

Jennie said...

Love it!!! God, I'm firmly somwhere in the middle of you two. Pudding over Saab, definitely. But trying to forget about this Jesus guy's birthday. Can't wait to see the result of this year's photo shoot!!

DJ Kirkby said...

I just read this out to Chopper who nodded his ehad throughout (in sympathy with Frog obviously). You've just described our relationship with Yule exactly. But, then I guess you already know that. x

Potty Mummy said...

Loving the 'tacky and bourgeouis' rule!

Potty Mummy said...

Actually, loving all of them... But you knew that, right?

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

Is there a "cake" like "The Cake" that is made in England? I have no idea. We don't make "cake" here except some people make fruit cake. Or maybe people here do make cake, but I am so clueless about traditions I don't. Um...it's probably the last one I mentioned.

Anyhow, traditions we bring into our marriage can be weird, huh? Like Hubby puts up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving (which is Nov. 27) here while my family put it up maybe a couple weeks before Christmas. It's actually kind of fun to find out all the traditions of my husband and his family -- and luckily it doesn't involve getting drunk and falling into the Christmas tree.

Sparx said...

Jennie - you must remember though that it's not actually Jesus' birthday - even the Church recognise that this date was moved to suit traditional calendars. Around the world there are and have been for millenium upon milenium, culture to culture, celebrations for the solstice - the end of the long nights and the beginning of the lengthening days. This time is often referred to as the birth of the sun god, the sun king or the 'child of promise' and as such is well worth celebrating.

DJ - yes, I would have imagined you being much the same :)

Potty Mummy - I loved your rules too; very like-minded...

Lisa - OMG, Americans don't do the cake? Whatever do you use to stop your doors open for the new year???!!! Just kidding. Actually, The Cake is a bit of a tradition here but not sure if all brits have it. It's a massive fruit cake, in fact it's basically just fruit and nuts held together with a fine layer of flour and half a bottle of brandy, covered in marzipan and iced with Royal Icing which reuqires a pick-axe to break into... often decorated with real holly leaves and silver sugar balls making it a proper health-and-safety hazard between pricking oneself with the holly, slicing oneself open trying to break into the thing and losing a filling on the little sugar balls... Merry Yule, everyone!!

A Modern Mother said...

We don't make Christmas Cake, I think it's vile ;-)

Jennie said...

Quite right. We call it Jul here, which in fact is the same word for wheel. So it's ingrained as a solstice thing for Danes, etymologically speaking. The crux for me though is the gifting. I don't want my children to just expect gifts, (indeed as I did as a child). And I don't want our friends and family to feel obliged to give them. It's the being together, and eating good food part I like. Everything else can go.

Sad Rabbit said...

My charming other half has decided that this year, he is not going to do me a stocking. Apparently it is too stressful.

In light of last years stocking contents....which featured a book on depression and a vibrator..i cant decide if i am pleased of disappointed....

Sparx said...

A Modern Mother - sooo many people don't like it but we're big fans here... hard to get rid of it though, it's pretty heavy going...

Jennie - I know what you mean but we're going to go full-on presents at Christmas I think... we're pretty mean about buying him stuff the rest of the year so...

Sad Rabbit - so, is your name derived from last year's stocking stuffers then :)!! You made me laugh a lot, thanks! And, er, sorry if I shouldn't have laughed... snorf...

Ju said...

Good set of rules but not too stressful, I love reading about people's choice for Xmas, it's very inspiring.

Sad Rabbit said...

Oh god. I hadnt thought of that!!! How embarassing!!! Am not sure i would have minded so much if it HAD been a rabbit. Instead was some cheap generic! i felt insulted!

For my birthday he bought me 3 DVD's that he wanted, and has, in the past bought me a skype phone.....again, cos he wanted it. This christmas i am buying him a trip to the shops with £500 to spend ;-)

Sparx said...

Ju - it's like looking into windows at Christmas and seeing what people have done with their livingrooms isn't it?

Sad Rabbit - LOL! Actually, can I have that present?!!