Please Kill Santa, He’s A Knob

Please Kill Santa, He’s A Knob

Christmas is a weird time. Let’s face it, unless you have the social graces of a Scottish drunk with a habit for eating all the purple hazelnut Roses and an inappropriate love of telling fart jokes to children, you’ll be in demand to visit all your family. That even includes those you’ve been avoiding since last Christmas when their over-indulged, chocolate-crazed progeny drove you to the edge of reason and a desperate, ill-fated dive into the cheap whisky.

You will undoubtedly complain about the lack of “downtime” and a hectic schedule. There may even be a few white lies told to steal a sneaky weekend away by yourself.

Please forgive my tone of smug, self-congratulation but for us, that happy Christmas pantomime is a thing of the past. Not just because we now live in Canada and all our family are several thousand miles away on another continent. Not just because basically I have no friends and am close to being named an honourary Scotsman. But because since Emma and I met, we’ve maintained what I like to think of as the Cartman Policy.

It’s really very simple and goes something like this: “Screw you guys, I’m going home.”

You see, we decided to avoid all the wrangling over whose parents we should visit each year and not go to any of them. With a couple of sad exceptions, we’ve stuck to that policy for the last seventeen years and it’s been remarkably healthy for everyone involved. Sure there have been attempts to subvert us and guilt us into a visit, but they quickly died out. What we gained was a measure of control and peace, plus an opportunity to do things our way.

For a few years now my father-in-law has come to Canada to share Christmas with us and that’s been great. This year the prospect of the cold weather was too much and he came in November instead to help us move into our new farm. So we’re on our own again and I have to say, it feels bloody good. In my heart, I can’t deny a little sadness that my folks won’t get to see the kids open their presents and that we won’t get to see the annual re-run of Star Wars on the BBC. But, as mentioned in previous posts, I’m a Jedi now so I know how that story goes.

Instead we get to begin building traditions with our kids. Not all of them will be fuzzy and idyllic. Some of them will probably involve shouting and standing on toys in the dark. I’d like to try to combine some of the best ones I remember from my childhood and I’m sure the missus will introduce some of her own. I’d like to start the tradition of Throttle The Damn Chicken, because I swear if Custard The Evil pecks my hand again while I’m feeding them, he’ll be a MasterChef-inspired main course by Boxing Day.

Whatever traditions we come up with, my intention is to abandon the day’s association with Christ and Christianity because let’s face it, if he’s real I’m buggered and have already booked an Advance SuperSaver ticket on the Express Shuttle to Hell so we may as well have some fun on Earth in the meantime. I’m fully intending to follow the stereotypically romantic image of a pagan and embrace their proclivity for excess feasting, celebrating, generosity and belching.

To be more specific and in homage to the tradition of Best 5 whatevers, here’s what I liked best about my family’s Christmas celebrations before the Cartman Policy took effect and what I’m going to try combine into our new traditions:

1. The Hidden Present

 It’s a classic and those of you that haven’t been on the experiencing end of it are either adopted, or quite frankly, have rubbish parents. Either way, you should probably get in touch with a counsellor to talk about your neglected childhood. It goes down well whatever age you are and with Sid James inspired cheeky chappiness, the savvy present giver can use it to their advantage. For example, Emma is now so excited and conditioned to hoping for The Hidden Present that she will practically do anything on Christmas day. Ask for a cup of tea and she’s at the cupboard in a shot looking for a small box. Take these clothes upstairs to put away? No problemo, I’ll just take a quick peek to see if there’s a nice new top hanging up with a bow wrapped around it shall I? It’s a genius tradition that gives a win all round.
2. Bacon Butties For Brunch
 Another classic. For anyone not British or Danish reading this, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about because it’s unlikely you’ve eaten proper bacon. I’m not talking about that streaky, mean-cut, fat-heavy, water-filled junk that masquerades as bacon. Oh no. I’m talking about the real, English-style, thick-cut, smokey bacon with the rind still on it. The kind that doesn’t vanish into a pan of white foam and grease. Get some, fry it up until the rind is golden and crispy but the meat isn’t as dry as a Rivita (seriously, unless you want to slice your throat from the inside, what is the point of that stuff?) and serve without draining in a white floury bap. If you want to go Proper Northern Style, try to get your hands on some Chop Sauce from Hammonds of Yorkshire. A worthy second best would be Daddies Sauce. Of course, if you do, then I’ll probably be sharing those butties with you.

3. It’s Father Christmas, Not Fucking Santa

I’m not being funny but they’re not even from the same origin. Santa is a commercial North American concept that unfortunately many people are too ill-educated to know isn’t the same thing. Father Christmas is way cooler. He’s also known as Father Winter, descended from the pagan god Woden (and Odin for those Norse junkies). A frickin god. And he doesn’t wear a crappy red suit either. This fella wears green, doesn’t do deliveries and only says Ho Ho Ho when he’s quaffing flagons of ale or crushing his enemies. He’s the real deal and the lord of winter, to which puny humans should give offerings and good cheer, otherwise he’ll eat the fucking lot of you. And your cat too.

4. The Christmas Creep

Unlike the name might suggest, this isn’t about intoxicated Belgians or Frenchmen with overly familiar hands. But if you’re a Dad, being a Christmas Creep is essential to the drama of the day. Of course I’m talking about the accepted protocol for Checking If Father Christmas Has Gone Yet. Fairly obviously, given my lecture about Father Christmas above, you can a) understand why you’d want to check that this mad fucker isn’t still in the room when you bring your kids down and b) wonder what the hell is in those presents. Whatever, the Christmas Creep is essential to creating the perfect atmosphere of suspense and really gets the day off to a great start.

5. A Mountain Of Food

In the spirit of Christmas being about the celebration of winter and that the days are (hopefully) going to start getting longer and less dark, the Christmas Feast has always been an important centrepoint of the day. Whether you decide to roast up an unfortunate turkey (um, boring), or a simple chicken (I have a spare), it’s important to go Over The Top. Personally, I don’t mess about with Starters and just head straight to the Main Course. Three types of meat isn’t excessive, along with every vegetable that can be boiled, mashed, julienned, diced or roasted. On the side Yorkshire Puddings, Sage & Onion Stuffing, Pork Crackling and thick rich gravy. If you can get up after that, you haven’t done it justice.

Whatever your customs and beliefs, I hope you have an intoxicated Christmas / Yule celebration filled with belly laughs, new traditions and Jedi Knights.

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