In three weeks time it will be Christmas day.
This means I have twenty-one days to summon up some Christmas cheer and get into the spirit of things.
It’s a tough ask.
Perhaps I should use my first faltering step into the not-covered-by-haiku world of poetry to highlight the particular Christmas issue I face.
Ladies and gentleman, may I present Santa: A Cinquain.
Thick Coat. Big Boots.
You belong in the snow.
Not twatting about in this heat,
The simple truth is, for me, Christmas just isn’t Christmas when it’s ninety in the shade.
I’ve tried and tried for nearly a decade but my brain just can’t cope with the memory and imagery of Christmas without the backdrop of drizzle, grey skies and six hours of daylight.
I’m painfully aware that as the father of two kids I have a duty to be all Christmassy and shit and I’m genuinely trying to change. At the very least I try to limit my Christmas whining to:-
– internal dialogue
– external bleating in the general direction of my wife
– rambling on to the five people who might read this post
Eddie Izzard has a great routine where he lampoons the moments when reality strikes for certain professions. I mention this because on Wednesday I had my beekeeper what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-I’m-covered-in-bees moment.
We spent Wednesday evening at a food market. We came, we ate, the kids ran around, we ate some more we went home. It was lots of fun. After we put the kids to bed it dawned on my wife that Santa was visiting Rhys’ school the following morning.
“I need to find him a Christmas hat.”
“I thought you were asking your folks to bring one to the market?”
“I rang them but they had already left.”
“Just use one of my Wales beanies and stick some tinsel on it. It’s red.”
This last statement earned me the look. I do not need to explain further.
Twenty minutes later after searching every cupboard, the nook of every cranny and even the box of Christmas tree ornaments…
“Ring your mum. I’ll go and pick one up.”
–make up your own phone ringing noises and Christmas hat based conversation as I’d gone to put my shoes on at this point–
“What did she say?”
“She’s looking for one. She’s going to let me know.”
I will admit I did laugh out loud for a number of minutes at this statement. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to have my in-laws as my in-laws I reckon I’ve disposed of at least three hats every Christmas yet every Christmas day there is a seemingly inexhaustible supply of hats regardless of numbers (Christmas lunch is a minimum 15 people affair every year). I’ve long assumed my mother in law has a secret basement filled with Christmas hats. And wool. I bet it’s also about twenty degrees cooler than my scalp under African summer skies and a hat.
Fast forward seven minutes.
“I’m going to take my chances. Send me a message if she rings back and hasn’t found one.”
And so off I went. I couldn’t plug in my phone to play some decent (or indeed indecent) music in the car in case I got a message so I resorted to surfing for radio stations. It took me less than four minutes to find some seasonal Michael Buble. The man’s reach is extraordinary.
Around the time it was beginning to feel a lot like Christmas I drove past our local garden centre which was bedecked with a beautiful display of lights. Bathed in the reflected glow of green and red neon and with Micky Bubble crawling along my spine I was overwhelmed by the prospect of Christmas with my wife and our two wonderful children. The chance to relax and settle into the magic of the holiday season with those that mean the most. The prospect of my parents arriving early in the New Year for a six week holiday and the beside-myself-with-excitement-already prospect of my brother also being here at the end of January. The realisation that the end of another working year was only two weeks away.
And then I went and tried to turn up the radio and buggered it all up.
In reaching for the radio I accidentally hit the aircon button.
Some smart arses / virtual stalkers will now be pointing out that I drive a Civc and have volume controls on the steering wheel and therefore have no need to reach over to the radio. To you I say, shame.
Shame on you.
Have you ever seen a Christmas movie where someone turned up a Christmas song on the radio by an almost imperceptible movement of their left thumb? Get into the spirit of things for the love of Saint Nick.
I hit the aircon button accidentally.
And the spell was broken.
Here is a summary of how spells break.
“…it’s beginning to look a l..” ooh that freezing cold air feels so nice on my legs which is exactly what you would expect at 8pm on a Wednesday evening at the beginning of December because it’s 28 degrees C outside and I’m driving to get a Christmas hat for my child so he can wear it to see Santa tomorrow. It’ll look lovely with his shorts, t-shirt and flip-flops I just hope he remembers to take it off before he goes for a swim at lunchtime and HELPIMCOVEREDINBEEEEEEEEESANDITSNOTANYTHINGLIKECHRISTINGCHRISTMAAAASSSSS.
I’m writing this line at 11pm on Friday 4th December. I’m wearing in shorts and have a ceiling fan whirring above me. Once I’ve posted this I might go for a quick dip.
It’s not Christmas.
But it’s not bad I suppose.
Oh…and on a final note. For all the cold weather people who are having an “oooh…it sounds so amazing to be on the beach for Christmas day” moment I give it one day MAX before the novelty wears off. If you can stomach a warm segment of Terry’s Chocolate Orange an hour after the turkey sweats I take my hat off to you.
Assuming I haven’t already fed mine to a passing monkey and torched the secret basement.
Thanks to Dajena @ moonskittles (check out her lovely site here…) for her explanations and examples of poems that inspired me to have a (dreadful) attempt at a Cinquain!
Header photo: “Palm trees and christmas tree near Seal Beach pier” by Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net).. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Palm_trees_and_christmas_tree_near_Seal_Beach_pier.jpg#/media/File:Palm_trees_and_christmas_tree_near_Seal_Beach_pier.jpg