Merry Christmas again. How was it for you?
A perfect day as the movies depict, of familial love, laughter and games?
Or, was it something else?
I’m a Christmas lover – the build up, Fairytale of New York on repeat, the mad panic of wrapping presents and pantomimes.
On this note, we thought The Rep’s Christmas Carol was splendid, deserving of its almost sell-out run, with a talented and experienced production crew and cast showing great humour and musicality.
And then, finally, the day arrives.
On my Christmas Day this year, by the time guests arrived, I had stomach pains and was aching all over.
I pushed on to help with lunch – a gigantic undertaking of timings and test of marital relations.
Thankfully, while I do the daily family cooking, on Christmas Day you could be mistaken for thinking Jamie had SAS training in culinary skills, treating it like a meticulously thought-out assault course of oven temperatures and timings.
And then, after the turkey was cleared, I had to admit defeat and apologised to everyone – everything was sore and my eyes were closing.
I slept in a cold sweat for 16 hours, unable to lift my head off the pillow.
As I woke fitfully, I thought that no matter how perfect we want a day to be, it doesn’t always transpire.
Pressure for perfect Christmas
Like the bride I know from England, who got drunk and heckled her own speeches.
To this day no one’s allowed to mention it and the whole episode is blamed on antibiotics mixing with just a few glasses of fizz.
Another pal, originally from Arbroath, went out with pals in the Ferry on Christmas Eve.
In fairness I have some sympathy for him – there’s something magical about the Fisherman’s Tavern on that night and you never want the evening to stop.
It’s an evening with friends I loved and miss – but I could think of nothing worse with young kids.
Problem is, he did have children and a wife to come home to and spent Christmas Day looking green and running to the toilet, unable to get out of bed to see what Santa had brought at 5.30am and offering zero help in the kitchen to make dinner for many relatives.
Four years on, she’s not entirely forgiven him.
My realisation is that on days like Christmas, there’s huge expectation and pressure for everything to be perfect – and rarely is it.
But that’s OK and more, it’s the things that seem disastrous on the day that will on another day in the future, be the thing you remember fondly or make you laugh.
Like when dad was as green as the Grinch or your wife heckled the best man.
Come on, you’ve got to laugh.
And for those who don’t believe in Christmas miracles, I’ll tell them about the time I had 16 hours’ sleep.
The imperfect things are what make memories.
Like the family member who was asleep under the coats by starter, after too many home-poured whiskies.
I can neither confirm nor deny that family member was my own.
Happy New Year when it comes. Thank you for your friendship in 2023 and remember to get in touch any time.
May the rest of your festive period be magically imperfect.