Well, not quite of course. As all good students of the church calendar will know, the season (‘to be jolly, fa la la la la’ etc.) doesn’t actually end until January 6th (first of Epiphany, when the Three Wise Men finally get to give their gifts). And as that is also, in fact, Orthodox Christmas Day it’s an excellent excuse to do the whole thing all over again should you want to. And if you should (want to do the whole thing again) here are a few things you might want to do differently. Especially if you’re me.
Lovely as it is to listen the the Nine Lessons and Carols on the wireless broadcasting machine, simultaneously tweeting the lessons and the words of carols can be something of a distraction. Mind you, being on Twitter did reveal the most enormous, presumptuous arrogance of the BBC Radio Four feed in allocating the hashtag #BBC9LC – thus appropriating the entire event rather than the mere transmission of it to my living room. Now this is serious. If merely broadcasting something to the nation entitles one to take the credit for the event and assume kind of ownership then we should all worry, from the grandest to the humblest. I did search the twitter feed for #BBCHMQSpeech the following day but to no avail. The pinkos at BBC HQ must’ve got cold feet after my warning tweets the day before.
With three children in the house ranging in age from thirteen years to a little under twelve months you’d not expect the eldest to be the one sitting at the foot of your bed at six-thirty in the morning drumming her fingers and impatiently waiting for the others to wake up. Top tip: take the eldest to Midnight Mass the night before. That way he or she will be as knackered as you are at six-thirty not having got to bed until two-thirty that morning.
If you plan to play an excellent practical joke on your ex (having invited her round for lunch) ensure it doesn’t get forgotten in the kitchen chaos of Christmas cooking. Having enjoyed a starter of prawn cocktail washed down by a suitably impertinent sauvignon, it had been my intention to put this before the mother of my eldest while simultaneously filling everyone else’s plate with generous slices of goose. But I forgot.
It’s a mistake to leave the bulk of the present-opening until Christmas afternoon – especially after spending all morning in the kitchen. Inevitably the effort expended and alcohol consumed will result in a postprandial stupor of immense proportions and one will miss the kids opening most of their presents as well as completely forget who sent what to whom, making ‘thank you’ notes a tad difficult to write.
(Otherwise known as the Feast of Stephen.) A walk is essential. Indeed, any form of exercise is de rigueur. Just be careful how much and how vigorous and for how long. Especially after all that Christmas pudding. The day after Christmas Day isn’t the celebration of the first ever Christian martyr for nothing. Oh, and while we’re about it, Wenceslas wasn’t even a King (a Duke merely, or Earl. But that doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it?)
The Third Day of Christmas
Your true love might or might not have gifted you three French hens (…he or she might not have given you anything at all – mine didn’t. But then, I didn’t give her anything either. We agreed in advance we’d go to the Opera instead next year!) but if the pile of presents beneath our tree is anything to go by, there’ll still be plenty to open. In fact, staggered opening can be useful for a variety of reasons (see Christmas Day, above) and gives the recipient of tender years time to get to grips with each new toy in turn (and onlookers of more advanced years time enough to extract from all the packaging, install the batteries and retire to a quiet corner with another beer).
The Fourth Day of Christmas
By now, your goose (in our case) will be well and truly cooked. So for goodness sake take it out of the oven and start eating it!
The Fifth Day of Christmas
Five Gold Rings? Really? That’s one for each finger. Lucky you.
The Sixth Day of Christmas
Did you know all swans in this realm of ours belong to Her Royal Majesty the Queen of Elizabeth? The self-same whose Christmas Day address to the Nation next year will almost certainly be appropriated by the BBC in its twitter-feed? So here’s another Yuletide tip from the top – no swans whether a-swimming or otherwise on pain of a summons for High Treason and incarceration in the Tower (a fate only slightly worse than the one to befall certain members of this family yesterday after a long-distance journey to bestow season’s greetings on a group of far flung relatives – followed by the late-night relay truck ride home in the small hours of this morning).
If anyone knows how to fix a nearside front electric window, I know a man who’d like to hear from you.