Well, boys and girls, here we are at the end of our Christmas Alphabet and hasn’t it been fun!? Even more exciting, there’s a triple bill of letters today because today is Christmas Eve and Santa will be firing up the sleigh in readiness for the evening’s deliveries. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our Yuletide offerings as much as we’ve enjoyed writing them. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and please do take the time to come visit again in 2015. Thank you.
Xmas excitement, Xmas excess, Xmas exhaustion…
X-Rays: I recently fractured my ankle while running and it’s made me more aware of the silly little things (like crumbling tarmac on verges) that can trip us up and our own fragility when we do so. The holiday period is really just a broken limb disaster waiting to happen, what with climbing up on ladders/chairs/partners’ shoulders to hang decorations and dress trees, tripping over newly acquired toys left on stairwells, lugging furniture about to make room for party games and/or extendable tables, dancing and charades… And that’s without taking bellyfuls of alcohol into consideration – how any of us survive is absolutely beyond me!
On top of that there’s all the things we might accidentally swallow – Coins (Christmas pud); Keyrings (Christmas crackers); Shells (nuts, Lidl lobster); Date stones (dates); Board game tokens (Monopoly houses and pieces, Triv pie pieces, Miss Scarlet – the list is endless); Bottle tops and corks (alcohol cabinet); Bleach (cupboard under the sink); One of Aunt Mabel’s mince pies (Auntie Mabel’s house) – and any of these could necessitate X-Rays and/or MRI scans. And it goes without saying that tempers get frayed at Christmas too, and frying pans, tea mugs and fists may therefore present further hazards that need avoiding. Mistletoe’s poisonous, by the way.
Keep safe and well this Christmas, eh? And if you can’t be good be careful. Don’t have nightmares…
Yuletide festivities – you’ll join us, yes?
Yorkshire Puddings: Yes or no? As a traditionalist I don’t think Yorkie Puds have any place on the Christmas dining table, but times change, and since Aunt Bessie et al got in on the act with frozen batter blobs that only take a minute or two to reheat the puffy little buggers have started popping up all over the place. On the one hand I despise frozen YP’s – almost as much but not quite as much as I hate the concept of ‘instant’ batter mixes for people who are too stupid to beat an egg, some flour and some milk together successfully – but I will concede their usefulness in a last-minute ‘not quite enough on the plate’ scenario. If you feel you need ‘em, go for it, but if you’re going to why not go the whole hog and bin the Bessies in favour of some proper homemade ones? Just make sure your fat’s really smokin’ from the outset and don’t open the oven door mid-rise.
Zzzzzzzz… Dazed and dozing… All over for another year…
Zebedee: ‘Xmas or Yule?’ asked Zebedee.
‘What do you mean?’ asked Florence, as she carefully placed the star on top of the tree.
‘Well,’ said Zebedee, ‘you know that Christmas was nicked from the pagans, don’t you?’
‘Really?’ said Florence, as she placed the Yule log decoration in the middle of the dining table.
‘Yeah, man,’ drawled Dylan as he lazed on the sofa, watching her work. ‘Like, it’s the Winter Solstice, man. Only they called it Yule.’
‘Oh, I see,’ said Florence. ‘That’s why this is called a Yule Log, not a Christmas Log?’
‘That’s right,’ said Zebedee. ‘Santa was originally pagan, too, but like so many other things about Christmas, the Catholics simply Christianised him, by calling him a saint, and people went right on doing what they’d always done at Yule, in many ways.’
‘But the Solstice isn’t on the 25th, is it?’ asked Florence.
‘No,’ said Zebedee. ‘But the Yule festival went on for several days, so I guess the Christians just took the last day of the festivities for their Christmas, instead of the first.’
‘Right!’ said Florence. ‘So what else do we do now that our pagan ancestors did?’
‘Well, that tree is another example of a pagan practice. So is the holly on the mantelpiece. Even the singing of songs, though they called it wassailing, and the songs weren’t Christian. But songs like The Holly and the Ivy have been adapted from the old songs.’
‘Golly!’ said Florence. ‘I never knew that!’
‘Yeah, man,’ Dylan yawned. ‘Santa wore green and white, once, till the evil corporation known as Coke took him over for their advertising and put a red coat on him.’
‘Wow!’ said Florence. ‘There seems to be a lot about Christmas I didn’t know.’
Just at that moment, the door flew open and Dougal rushed in. ‘Where’s the presents?’ he demanded, spinning round in a circle a couple of times.
‘Presents aren’t a Christian invention, either,’ said Zebedee. ‘The Yule Log was originally a gift for the people you visited at this time of year – a very valuable one, the gift of fire, heat and warmth and light.’
‘What are you talking about?’ demanded Dougal. ‘Where are my presents?’
‘What makes you think anyone’s brought you any presents?’ asked Brian, slithering in behind him.
‘Because they always do!’ said Dougal.
‘I don’t know why. You never buy them anything.’
‘Buy?’ said Dougal. ‘I thought they came from Santa?’
Brian rolled his eyes. ‘You really are a stupid dog!’ he said. ‘It’s lucky your presents don’t cost a lot, or no-one would bother.’
‘Now then, Brian,’ said Zebedee, wagging a finger at him. ‘It’s Christmas. Be nice!’
Brian stuck his tongue out at Zebedee, but had the grace to shut up.
Zebedee rubbed his hands together. ‘Right, so where’s the turkey?’ he said. ‘Time to get dinner in the oven!’
Florence gasped and put a hand to her mouth. ‘Oh, no! I forgot to buy a turkey! With everything else I had to do, it totally slipped my mind!’
‘Never mind,’ said Brian, looking hungrily at Dougal. ‘We can always eat him!’
Florence looked shocked, but Brian continued, ‘Plenty of people do eat dog, you know.’
‘Brian, that’s enough!’ said Zebedee sharply. ‘Is there any other meat, Florence?’
‘No!’ she wailed, and flung her apron over her head and cried.
Zebedee put a comforting arm around her. ‘Then I guess it can be the season of goodwill to all turkeys – and other edible animals, too. For once in our lives we’ll have a vegetarian Christmas. Or Yule.’
Our alphabet is almost done
This entry is the final one
All letters spent from A to Zed*
And so, at last, it’s time for bed… Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
*Alternative version for American readers:
Our alphabet is almost done
This entry is the final one
All letters spent from A to Zee
And so, at last, it’s bed for me… Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Featured Writer: Karen Tucker (Zebedee). Additional Contributors: Carolyn Gray, Peppy Scott, David Smith.