I’m told that rules are made to be broken. I’m requested to answer ten questions and tag three other bloggers., but instead, I’m inviting all who feel like inspired to join in. These are the questions:
1. How do you celebrate Christmas?
2. Do you have a favorite Christmas carol or hymn?
3. Do you like snow?
4. What is your favorite contemporary Christmas song?
5. What does your Christmas dinner table look like?
6. What is your favorite Christmas memory?
7. If you could take a paid two week break this time of year, what would you do and why?
8. Do you have a favorite Christmas book or piece of literature?
9. Is there a Christmas movie that you don’t like?
10. Do you have a favorite Christmas special?
1. I wake up as late as possible on Christmas day. I linger over breakfast and take my time opening Christmas gifts, dreading the moment when I have to face the world. At the allotted time, I put on a merry expression and walk to the house of one of my two elder daughters, to be surrounded by flying children and raucous hilarity. Within five minutes of arriving I remember that I like Christmas after all.
2. My favourite hymn; In the Bleak Midwinter, would not be everyone’s choice. It’s the first – and possibly the only – song I ever sang solo to an audience. I was eleven. The event was the school’s annual nativity play.
3. I love snow – the beauty of it, the still silence it brings. I can pretend that everything bad has been buried beneath it – that when it thaws our planet will be cleansed, ready to start afresh.
4. I expect – in the UK at least – 9 out of 10 voters would choose The Pogues and Kirsty McColl’s Fairy Tale of New York. I stand firmly in that camp. It’s brutally honest, and yet oddly romantic. I could listen to it every day of the year.
5. Hmm – my [family’s] Christmas table… Before the meal it groans with food. Afterward it looks like a bomb site; I have rather boisterous grandsons. My daughters use wipe-down plastic tablecloths. When the children are all grown up, perhaps it will be replaced with tasteful cotton or linen, and my daughters will mourn the departure of mess.
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6. I have two favourite Christmas memories. The first one is obvious; waking up before it was light and emptying my stocking. The second occurred nine months before the birth of my first grandchild, back when it was my job to host the Christmas dinnner. We’d invited my daughter’s boyfriend, Mark, over for the day. He hadn’t had much of a childhood as his mother had married a notorious bully who’d inflicted permanent physical and mental damage on him – before social services took him away – but he knew what Christmas was about. Maybe he invented a Christmas he had never known. He made the day perfect. It was the last Christmas he saw, so I’m glad he spent it with us. He left us the best gift ever, although we didn’t know it at the time; that night my first grandson was conceived.
7. If I could take a paid break at Christmas, I would probably do exactly as I do now; stare at the ceiling and wish I could figure out what to buy people.
8. When my children were small I bought a beautifully illustrated copy of The Night Before Christmas, and pulled it out to read to them each Christmas Eve. My daughters have continued the tradition. That’s my favourite Christmas book.
9. I don’t like Christmas movies in general, so rather than list them, I’ll ll you the ones I do like: A Christmas Carol (the Alistair Sim version), It’s a Wonderful Life (James Stewart), and Miracle on 34th Street, starring the incredible Mara Wilson.
10. As for Christmas specials, I don’t have a TV. When I lived with my parents, we kept ours firmly switched off over Christmas. Christmas is a family time, and I feel that television discourages communication.
©Jane Paterson Basil