Each year on Christmas Day, HRH Queen Liz (we’re on informal name terms after I got invited round to her’s for a spot of tea and cake back in 2011), manages to get out of her Simpsons onesie and put aside her tin of Quality Street for just long enough to deliver a speech about families, togetherness and sage & onion stuffing (maybe not the last one) to her loyal minions. Not being one for telling jokes (that’s her husband’s area of expertise), she bores people into an afternoon snooze that can only be broken by the sofa-trembling trumpet of turkey-farts.
Traditional it may well be, but it’s also one of the most harrowingly tedious memories of my childhood (coupled with the fact we were denied our Christmas presents until she’d finished wittering on at 15:00 in the afternoon) and so I’m not particularly fond of it and believe that there are better Christmas Day speeches to be made. Being one who puts her money firmly where her mouth is, I just so happen to have prepared one for you, my loyal
(Oh, by the way Lizzie, I totally know you pre-record your speech and are actually up to your knees in lavender bath sets and chocolate corgis on Christmas afternoon. Well, two can play at that game!)
Ladies and gents. I give you The (pre-recorded) PFPT Christmas Message!
Christmas is a time for sharing, for family and for togetherness. Well, unless you’re not one of the few people in the world who actually has a fully functioning nuclear family, who actually like each other’s company and who have oodles of cash! For the rest of the populace, it can be a time for trauma, for misery and for sulking. The one thing we can all agree on is that it’s a time for booze and food.
Christmas is a wonderful time of year, if your life happens to be wonderful all year round, but I would ask those of you in healthy, happy families, to spare a thought at this time of year for those with little social skills and bad breath, who have no friends and whose loved ones want nothing to do with them. For these poor souls, it is a desolate time of being reminded just how pitiful their existence is. Every cosy advert family, every “family” sized tub of chocolates, every festive hand-holding couple throwing romantic snowballs at each other – all these just serve to remind the Christmas loner how miserable this time of year truly is.
Worse than the knowledge that everyone else will be tucked up all cosy with their nearest and dearest and a board game, is the offer from some good Samaritan to join them and their family in their traditional day of intimate family fun. Giving someone a front row seat to the show of all-that-you-don’t-have is like tying the noose for them!
Spare a thought also for the single people at this time of commerce and good will. Everyone knows that Christmas is a time of giving, but it is also a time for receiving, for counting presents and for bearing a grudge. Think of the gay man or single gal, bravely facing the hell hole that is the toy store at rush hour, to purchase items of joy and fire hazard for all the darling little nieces and darling little nephews that their relatives insist on squirting out. They then stoically gather designer smellies and socks for the husbands and wives that their siblings and parents have gathered, each one paid for with funds that should otherwise have been supporting a barman through university, and then imagine the sheer amazement and wonder that having forked out for 57 gifts, they have only 3 by return, sitting under their incredibly stylish tree – “This one cheap gift is from your brother, my wife and all 5 of our horrible, ungrateful little brats.” Merry Christmas indeed.
For those who go “home” for Christmas (seriously? Where do you live the rest of the time?), a thought should be spared for you also. Having a family to spend the festive period with does not guarantee a jolly jingle time. Think about it – you spend most of your year trying to limit the amount of time you spend with incontinent Uncle Gropey and a great deal of energy avoiding prolonged exposure to maternal critiquing, so what bright spark thought it would be a clever notion to gather all these individual renegade relatives together, coop them up in a home fuelled by cheap sherry and unreasonably smug expectations, simmer for at least a day (add Terry’s Chocolate Orange-hyped children and drum kits as required) and expect anything other than enough heated tempers to spark a house fire with all the frayed nerves lying about the place?
[Having said some warm and fuzzy stuff about families and togetherness, and made everyone feel united and cheery, Queen Liz then generally rounds up the year’s key events. Who am I to break with tradition?]
Ok, so this year the news has had stuff about some athletes, a paedophile, some gunmen, a dead drug addicted diva, a grown man actually claiming to be called “Mitt” and a pregnant royal. Either a really controversial pop group or the worst interpretation of The Nativity Scene ever! I was hoping this was going to be the year that I became a Bond girl and that cattle prods on trains became legal, but alas, these are but utopian dreams still to be realised in 2013.
And so, with thoughts of joy and harmony filling your hearts, I ask you to think of one last person this yuletide. One who will suffer so very greatly this Christmas, whose pain will match that of Mary as she lay in a pile of donkey-wee soaked straw, squeezing out the son of God (Joseph, seriously? You fell for all that “virgin” malarkey?!) sans epidural. This good hearted soul will spend the day enduring intolerable agony, all in the name of love. You see, this is the first Christmas that Boything and I shall be spending together and I have insisted, much to his chagrin, that there shall be Brussels sprouts. Well, nothing says “Merry Christmas” like the scent of a half digested sprout.
Merry Christmas, one and all.