Not only charades but games in general on Christmas day. In my family we look forward to a day of no TV. Instead, we play all sorts of old fashioned games, like charades, board games, quizzes as well as karaoke. On Boxing Day we all get outside, with our dogs and go on a treasure hunt. It’s usually the only time of year that all the adults enjoy being children again.
I just love curling up in my armchair with a bowl of brazils, walnuts, hazelnut and pecans. There’s usually a few left several weeks after Christmas that have been impossible to crack.
Christmas crackers are just so British. Which other peoples of the world would be nutty enough to get excited about a paper tube stuffed with a corny joke, a paper crown and a pathetic little plastic toy. I love it that people who are normally so particular about the way they look are happy to wear a silly hat from a cracker while eating a meal in a restaurant. Ah...the British sense of humour.
When I was a child, there were no chocolates inside an advent calendar and my sister, brother and I had just one between us. It was the same calendar each year, yet there was nothing unusual about that, it was the same for our friends too. We used to love to try to guess what the picture would be behind the doors of the calendar. I don’t have an advent calendar now but I enjoy buying them for my grandchildren, chocolate filled of course.
I like to be on my own when I decorate my Christmas tree. I pour myself a glass of wine, set up a good long playlist of all my favourite Christmas songs and sing at the top of my voice as I am draping lights and baubles over my tree. When my children were small I would let them decorate the tree before bedtime. The tree would look a mess as they hung all the decorations on one side of it and only as high as they could reach. As soon as they were in bed, I would re-do it. They never noticed it looked different, when they got up next morning.
This is a drink I like to make at Christmas time for my friends who enjoy Baileys and similar Irish cream drinks. I use a couple of handfuls of ice cubes, a 410g tin of evaporated milk, 30g instant coffee, 30g sugar and 50g a favourite tipple: brandy, rum or whisky. Then, I pop all the ingredients into a container with a lid, hold the lid in place and shake vigorously until the ice cubes have melted. Pour the frothy liquid into glasses and enjoy.
Look, if you work in a shopping centre, where you have to listen to the same Christmas music over and over again all day long, I understand that you are completely fed up with it before the end of November. However, I don’t have to and so I thoroughly enjoy singing along to old Christmas classics and discovering new songs too. In fact I love Christmas songs so much that I even play them in the summer.
One of the best things about Christmas is the warm fuzzy feelings that people get around this time of year. There is no doubt that most people become more tolerant and caring towards their fellow humans. I worked in pubs for many years and was amazed at how mellow people became as Christmas approached. Mind you, by New Year’s Eve, it was all back to normal.
The rest of the world must think we are mad in Britain. The principle boy is a girl, the mature woman is a man and the horse is two people in one stupid uncomfortable costume! Although it is a traditional form of cheesy British comedy, pantomime has made a home in Canada, Australia and Jamaica too. The annual pantomime used to start on Boxing Day but due to its growing popularity, starts earlier these days: often a production begins at the very start of December, running until the end of January with Christmas day being the only day of closure. I have taken part in a few pantomimes in the past but this year I will be in the audience at Blackwood Miners’ Institute to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.