Xmas Day for the Mid Life Male

Posted: December 26, 2013 in General, Musings

I remember when young that Xmas was very different to our Xmas now. It was about a house full of relatives that were complained about as soon as they left. Bickering with different family members, and some quite incredible arguments about cooking (the perils of a grandmother who would tell my chef father how to cook dinner). Everything stopped at 3.oo to watch the Queen’s Speech. Elderly Aunts would drink a single glass of Advocaat (does anyone still drink this foul concoction?) and then insist they needed to go and lie down. Someone would always remind us ‘how lucky we were’ etc. We’d gather to watch the worst possible crap on TV that offended no one but entertained even fewer. When the relatives all finally left, my parents would sit down exclaiming “Thank God its over for another year.” It always felt a duty at best, an ordeal at worst. We invited people we didn’t want to see. We would complain how awful they were.  We’d do things we didn’t want to. And then do it all again the next year. I’m reminded of the adage that Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly but expecting different results. It was doing the ‘right’ thing at Xmas, sanity not so much. I vowed when older there is no way I would inflict such things on my loved ones.

For me and mine Xmas should be about having a fun time. It doesn’t have to be a lavish affair, but we make the effort to ensue that everyone enjoys themself. Firstly, we ban everyone else that might be contentious. No old grumpy relatives allowed. The ‘kids’ can stay as long or as short as they want. We exchange presents and we eat together, other than that they can do what they want. Now that they have boyfriends we accept we just aren’t the most interesting offer.

Gone are the days of being woken early on the day to the sounds of excited small children calling us down to see what Santa Claus has left them. Instead they just want left in bed until they rise naturally which if it involved being out the previous night can be pretty late.

The presents are fewer as being adults they would rather have cash or just as good – a bank transfer. No matter how I look at it, shoving cash into someone’s bank account just doesn’t feel Xmasy at all. I get the practicalities, but it’s just somehow a bit meh. But hey ho, it’s what they want and I don’t see any point in giving them one thing when another would be preferred.  So it’s a few small things to open on the day and then they have the fun of planning the expenditure of whatever they have got in the way of readies.

What is good is a chance to spoil my better half. It’s always a challenge. She’s pretty easy to find presents for but finding something that would surprise her is a lot harder. Wouldn’t be so bad if we had a few thousand £££s to spend but with an agreed budget of a couple of hundred instead it’s that much harder. I do however take out the annual life assurance policy that involves buying chocolate. I was told early into our relationship that the ‘True’ meaning of Xmas involved chocolate. It was said with that pleasant tone and the sweet smile, but the eyes were granite hard. Yep, OK I’ve registered that one.

So Xmas has gone full circle for us. It’s not about the kids any more and instead its about the adults. Presents exchanged and the imagination is more important than the monetary value. That said the focus is on buying things which the recipient wouldn’t normally buy themselves. Buying my loved one a new vacuum cleaner would deservedly result in me being beaten to a bloody pulp with it. Nice food (usually turkey), washed down with a couple of drinks and the chance to sit back and spend some time together without working interfering for a couple of days. Now, that is Xmas bliss.

In the evening we usually sit down to watch a movie. I can’t imagine action movies are everyone’s idea of Xmas, but they sure work for us.

We try not to overdo it too much so we can make the gym on Boxing day. Always a quiet day at the gym that one. We also have the usual routine of finding new recipes for leftover turkey. Turkey curry – yes please. Turkey quesadillas, bring that on. And of course turkey sandwiches.

If some one wants to accuse me of being selfish on Xmas then I couldn’t care less. We have a day to enjoy ourselves, which we do and I don’t feel remotely guilty about it. We’ve also never had a Xmas together where at the end of it we have said “Thank <insert diety here> that’s over.”

So the advice of the Mid Life Male is to be a bit more selfish this Xmas and remember who your priorities really are.

Merry Xmas people!

PS Posted a day late.

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