How was Christmas? ‘I am grateful when season starts to subside’
Hilary Fannin: I’m always pretty grateful when the Christmas season starts to subside
Christmas is over for another year. Hallelujah says Hilary Fannin Photo: iStock
Well, how was Christmas? I take it that you survived the season and that you haven’t succumbed to the condition of the turkey carcass, snoozing in the stock pan with a three-day-old hangover and a couple of bay leaves?
You have, have you? Oh dear. Better luck next time, eh? Maybe next year you could use the cognac to douse the plum pudding rather than your tonsils?
Me? I had a magical Christmas Day. Thank you for asking!
When I awoke on Christmas morning, radiant and rested after a long and dreamless sleep, the snow was softly falling over the woodlands beyond my casement window.
I slipped from my bed and padded across a floor strewn with hand-knotted rugs in jewelled shades of ruby, turquoise and emerald. I looked beyond the leaded glass at a fawn lifting her nose from the powdery ground, shaking her little white tail and skipping away into the berry-heavy trees, startling a plump robin from the pillowy white boughs.
My husband resembled, if I could just digress here, a recently unwrapped Action Man
Following my freckled nose downstairs to the toasty, clove-scented kitchen, I espied my rosy-glow progeny sitting around the breakfast table in their tartan pyjamas, fondly ribbing each other about who was going to eat all the pud! And there, by the Aga, was my dear husband, also clad in tartan pyjamas, warming the coffee pot and tossing pancakes while whistling cheerfully through his dead straight teeth.
(My husband resembled, if I could just digress here, a recently unwrapped Action Man, with a full head of painted-on hair and absolutely no genitals, opinions or predilections whatever, though charmingly double-jointed at both elbow and knee!)
“Mummy!” cried Alabaster, my youngest and fairest, whose hair can be lengthened or shortened by a turning a plastic knob on her back. “Why do you look so old and fleshy and crumply?”
“She looks old and fleshy and crumply because she is old and fleshy and crumply,” replied her brother, Donald-John, who had bypassed the pancakes and pouring maple syrup straight down his throat. This was the same Donald-John who would soon be surprised by my boot coming into contact with his vinyl-moulded backside.
“Let’s see what Santa has left us under our magnificent, fully lit, dead-straight Christmas tree, which is not being propped up by seven briquettes, three unread paperback romances and a hatchet!” cried Alabaster, taking my wrinkly hand. And so we went, followed by the sullen cat, into the twinkling living room to exchange electronic gifts around the snow-dusted fir dressed with frosted pine cones and dazzling pops of red for a winter-wonderland-inspired look.
“For you, darling,” said my pleasingly plastic spouse, presenting me with a hands-free smart-home device, replete with integrated speaker, in order that I might control my home using voice commands.
“Take it back, you moron!” I spat, kneeing him in his neutral space.
“What is it?” he asked, bending forwards and clutching his nothing. “I thought you wanted an Alexa!”
Get it out of my house, and take yourself and those alarmingly fragrant children with you
“How do I know that this damn thing won’t soon be gathering data on my life and selling it to marketing companies, who in turn will flood my inbox with inducements to purchase walking boots and conservatory blinds and stair lifts and midweek breaks in Leitrim and sausage-flavoured gin and Russian girls in my neighbourhood?
“Get it out of my house, and take yourself and those alarmingly fragrant children with you! They’re frightening me, those well-washed, pyjama-wearing offspring, with their fresh-breath enthusiasm for the season and their clear and achievable goals for their futures. I want my own children back, the sleepy, nicotine-stained ones who stumble down the stairs at lunchtime looking for orange juice.”
Ahhh, Christmas. However it may have panned out for you and yours, the day has passed for another year and you’ve got at least 50 clear weeks ahead before you have to crawl under the sink looking for the turkey thermometer again. It’s time to kick back and enjoy this limp-tinsel time, this interregnum between Christmas and new year when the mistletoe is withering and the party, for now, is pretty much done.
I’m not the most Christmassy of people and I’m always pretty grateful when the season starts to subside. Although, I have to say, it’s getting better, the auld seasonal ennui. I’m hanging on to the best advice I ever got: to lower my expectations and live, with as much ease as I can muster, in the real world.