Someone complained that the trouble with Christmas was that it came at such a busy time of the year.
Most people look forward to Christmas but after all the effort required to garner the presents, the cards, the food and drink, and all the time spent choosing a Christmas Tree and getting the fairy lights to work, the answer to the question “Did you have a nice Christmas?” is usually “ It was alright – a bit quiet, I ate too much and there was nothing much on television.”
It was no surprise that we came to the conclusion that Christmas was really for the little children and that was because adults over-indulge them and continue to lie to them about Santa Claus. We all had fond memories of the Christmases many, many years ago when we were children. In those days if you were good you got some toys, games and sweets from Santa but you were threatened that if you had been naughty he mightn’t come at all. When he brought you a few clothes and no sweets you assumed you must have been borderline. The clothes you did get were usually marked with a label that said “UTILITY” in stark contrast to the present day “designer”(whatever that means) clothes, which seem to be a must-have and cost three times a reasonable amount.
We remember going out carol singing and at least we knew most of the words, not like the Spotty Herberts of today who think that one line of “ We wish you a Merry Christmas “ merits at least a fiver. One member said that his policy towards carol singers knocking on his door was to join in and continue to sing all the verses of any carol they started. He was soon on his own.
Then there were the junior school nativity plays that seem to be mainly for the benefit of tea-towel manufacturers. One member reported seeing a shepherd with a head covering which said “ A present from Blackpool”. Your own beloved little darlings never got the plum parts and usually finished up as the fifth shepherd or angel, or worse still the third sheep, and then they were usually behind the biggest boy in the class. On good authority it was reported that at one performance one of the kings had announced in a very loud voice” We bring you gold, frankenstein and myrrh”
Those members with white beards said that they had gone through life (a) believing in Santa Claus. (b) not believing in Santa Claus (c) having to play the part of Santa Claus and (d) looking like Santa Claus. Experience has shown that when playing the part of Santa you will be rumbled if you do such things as wear hush puppies instead of wellingtons. And of course you must not sit them on your knee or it will prove you have unwelcome tendancies.
Another problem is when you discover that you have received 248 Christmas Cards but only sent 241 and you can’t find out the names of the ones you have missed. And you can’t remember who Chris and Doreen are unless they were that tedious couple you met on holiday. Then you have that card from a distant cousin which includes a three pages letter telling about their children who have just got first class degrees at Cambridge, are leading players in the National Youth Orchestra and have been invited to play for England in a variety of sports.
There used to be many traditions associated with the Christmas Day dinner, which we all agreed, seem to be disappearing. No longer, it seems, in most households does the good lady of the house spend most of the morning cooking and presenting the food, clearing up afterwards, waking the men for the Queens speech and vowing never to do Brussels Sprouts again. One member claimed that in all his years he had been good to his wife on Christmas Day and never got back from the pub late.
Another problem for we Old Grumpies is the presents we get. Knowing that we have a drawer full of unopened socks and hankies, we have to appear appreciative of yet more parcels full of the same. And having to say” Oh! Very nice—That’ll come in very handy” when someone has bought you a solar powered nasal hair trimmer. No doubt this year we will be getting a Donald Trump wig.
Without question we all agreed that Christmas starts far too early, is far too commercialised, and that the meaning of Christmas is overlooked. Christmas is not a celebration of the birth of Santa Claus. But above all it costs too much. Our two most common sayings at Christmas are “ Happy Christmas “ and “HOW MUCH?” We will do our best to ignore the usual comments that we are Old Scrooges as well as Old Grumpies and leave you with a quote from W.C.Fields “Happy Christmas to you all—except two”