The 12 hours of Christmas

22:20, Dec 20 2012

Well this is it* guys. The last Blog Idle post for 2012.

In the past, I've made a habit of doing a Christmas guide in alphabetical order (like this and this) and last year I was inspired on Christmas Eve and wrote this, but this year I have had The Twelve Days of Christmas pinging around in my head. So much so that I made image interpretations of both the original song, and the Kiwi version.

So I'm just going to go with it and bowdlerise to my heart's content whilst imparting to you, dear reader, something of the flavour of what Christmas day usually is for me and my family.

For the one day of Christmas my family gave to me -

12 hours of eating - It'll start with breakfast, and lo, it will continue until I fall asleep. And then it will start again when I wake up (see "nana naps"). Eating on Christmas Day is not cut up into predefined "meals" so much with us. We pick and graze over cheese and crackers, scorched almonds, and this really yummy snack mix that my mum makes that, I swear I'm not making this us, has nutrigrain, peanuts and curry powder in it. It sounds awful but it's delicious mostly because of all the sugar and fat in it.

I'd actually have called this "16 hours of eating" but that wouldn't have fitted very well with the song.


11 stifled curse-words - Being around extended family of all ages including in-laws sometimes means toning it down a bit. Well, at least I try to. Let's just say that "fudge" might get mentioned a lot more than it usually does. Ditto "shih tzu", "oh cockles!" and "manor farming country houses".

10 flutes of bubbly - This sounds like a lot but when you take into account the "12 (could be 16) hours of eating" it's not that bad. And quite frankly I'd consider it necessary. Don't judge me until you've spent the day at my mum's house trying to keep cat hair off your nice Christmas dress, then tell me if you think 10 glasses of wine is too many.

9 "oh, it's lovely"s - Because, let's face it, not every present is a winner and sometimes you need to say something in between "thank you" and "did you get an exchange card?"

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries,


AWNS-19051221-1-1 8 chairs mismatching - Christmas, for me, is a time of peace, family, and sitting on an assortment of chairs. Because no one I know has a full dining suite that can accommodate more than four people.

On years when there's been a particularly good turnout for Christmas lunch, we have been known to break out the folding outdoor furniture. Which, combined with slight tipsiness, can make for some very amusing lunchtime high jinks. There's nothing quite like seeing a member of the older generation sink, in slow motion, below the table-line opposite you and then having to lever them up off the floor. It's one of the highlights of Christmas, if you ask me.

7 crowns a-tearing - Those paper crowns they have in Christmas crackers must use paper that, by my estimation, is only a few atoms thick. Also, they're always made for someone with a peanut-sized head. It's just not Christmas if people aren't sitting around with colourful bits of wrecked paper on their bonces.

6 jokes a-groaning - I actually really like Christmas cracker jokes. They are awful, but with anything, you can make it more appealing with a bit of presentation. The most fun I ever had with this was at Christmas in London, at the pub that I worked at. In anticipation of a joke being read, everyone would adopt a vaudevillian aspect. The person with the joke would announce, in a very hammy voice, "I say, I say, I say..." to which the rest of the impromptu panto company would respond, while leaning in campily, "What do you say?" and then they'd read the joke out. It was hilarious fun for some reason (see 10 flutes of bubbly). So I'm all in favour of getting a bit theatrical when it comes to the jokes. Lord knows they're usually desperately unfunny. 

5 ribbons for me - Who am I kidding? I'll probably nab any fancy ribbons I can get away with. I see no reason for stopping at five. I've told you about my odd ribbon fixation, haven't I?

4 nice desserts - This is the thing about Christmas Day in my family. We just completely overdo it with the food. Even though we'll all have been eating for hours by the time we get to dessert, there will still be at least four options and we'll all feel compelled to have a bit of each. My favourite is the trifle (because I'll be making it) but that won't stop me from having some meringue, icecream, strawberries, and possibly brandy snaps, even though I don't really like the way they stick in my teeth.

3 roast spuds - It'll be too hot (hopefully) to properly enjoy them but I'll eat them anyway.

2 nana naps - Sometimes sacking out is necessary if only because it stops you eating for a while. 

And Colin Firth on the telly - There's a Pride & Prejudice marathon on Vibe on Christmas in the evening. Perfect end to the day, I reckon.

I don't know if this bears any resemblance at all to Christmas Day at your house, but feel free to tell me about it, or add your own numerical Christmas stuff to the carol if you like. And all the best for the Christmas and New Year holidays. Blog Idle will return early in January.

So have a good one, gentle blog-folk, and remember, don't drink and drive because "I can't grab your ghost chips".

* Sorry, I just wanted to include a link to this extremely funny ad that I saw for the first time last night and which I couldn't wedge into this post in any kind of way that made sense.

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