Friday, December 25, 2009
This doesn't feel like Christmas
I have a sneaking suspicion Christmas used to be more exciting than this when I was a kid.
For a start it's almost 4 am and my daughter is soundly asleep while my wife is downstairs wrapping up her presents.
If it had been left to me I would just now be trying to ascertain what stores are open at almost 4 am on Christmas Day.
When I was five-years-old I don't think I'd have been asleep at 4 am. On one occasion I stayed up most of the night in fervent expectation that some old guy with a white beard would leave a few eclectic offerings at the bottom of my bed.
Of course I didn't believe that rubbish some adults told us that Santa arrived down the chimney, because we didn't have one. Nor did I believe there was one Santa for the whole planet who visits x billion kids in one night. I'm not sure how anyone can fall for that.
But I did believe in Santa, although I rationalized it. I figured every local authority employed a few Santas that went round the houses ringing door bells. Hell maybe they had a Santa budget and a Christmas Committee that would make great fodder for the local newspaper when they implemented Santa cuts.
My thought process didn't make for an easy night. For a start, I'd listen out for the bell to ring for hours on end, probaby pissing off my parents no end.
Then after I finally fell into a fragile sleep for 10 minutes, I would feel the wonder of the magic stocking at the foot of my bed and eagerly trace the outline of the presents through the fabric.
I didn't actually get stockings. My mother put our presents in a couple of pairs of her hose (tights as they are known in the UK) which is just plain wrong now I come to think about it.
Then when we were finally allowed to open our presents at around 5 am we would rip them open enthusiastially and cherish each one, even the apples and walnuts that my parents used to pad out my mother's hose.
Often there would be a book about ghost stories and my sister and I would tell each other tales under the tree.
In the case of my daughter it's different. She'll wake up at about 9 am, yawn a lot and ignore most invitations to get excited about Christmas. Then she'll matter of factly open her presents and bug me to get out my chainsaw to remove them from their Fort Knox approved packaging.
I'm tempted to use her reaction as an allegory on how Christmas has lost its excitement and meaning.
But maybe she's just like that.