I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas and managed to eat lots, drink lots and laugh lots as well as get a wide variety of sparkly new presents!
In order to keep it a truly traditional holiday season, I started the whole thing with a festive row with my mum. This is really nothing unusual, we are uncannily like each other therefore consequently when we get along no one in the world could separate us, but when we row, anyone in a 10 mile radius should employ the duck and cover method widely advertised in the 1950s as protection from a Nuclear fallout. Managing to get myself in a complete state I ended the first half of the whole debacle slamming down the phone and incensed at everyone’s audacity to not quite appreciate enough how hard this all is for me (please don’t ask what I was expecting the world to do; elongate Christmas day to accommodate my naps or something I suspect) and deciding that I would not be participating in any of today’s activities. Luckily two things then happened; firstly I read this which sort of put everything into perspective. Secondly I spoke to a friend who knows me better than that and who swiftly informed me she would be round in an hour to help me get ready and then drop me round at my parents, where – I was reliably informed by my sister – my mother was speed-making mince pies in a rage fueled frenzy.
Having got any feelings of stress and vexation out the way in one fell swoop the rest of the festivities were great. Christmas eve is very traditional for my family, by which I mean we have our own very set traditions which may appear somewhat strange to others. For lunch my mum makes two homemade soups, carrot soup and chestnut soup, the choice of which is served with crusty bread and butter. The pretence of these two being offered as a choice has long been abandoned and we are now asked which soup we would like to start with. After lunch, we all snuggle up in the lounge and watch It’s A Wonderful Life. Every year it’s the same film, (its only outing from the video cupboard) and every year the tears flow with monotonous regularity, led by my mother who starts weeping approximately 10 minutes before everyone else. Now the tradition of soups for lunch was started I believe to make everyone feel better consuming copious amounts of food on Christmas day but is sadly duped by our traditional Christmas eve meal, where we head to our favourite Indian restaurant for a calorie-laden treat. This year my lungs were just not having any of it, and I was a tad sad at the prospect of missing it, but we decided to get a take-away instead which meant full participation (yay) but also the new addition of carols round the piano (yes we are in fact the cornflake family).
My granddad is down with us for the whole of Christmas and on Christmas day my other grandparents joined us too, for a feast and a half (my eyes are always bigger than my stomach and I usually end up having to eat my plateful in two sittings.) Boxing day is the other big tradition, where 14 of us all pile over to my grandparents for a huge boxing day lunch featuring the special only-made-by-grandma mushroom rolls, which trust me are far more delicate and scrummy than that simple name makes them sound! The great thing about traditions like our boxing day is it then acts as a kind of benchmark for change; it’s strange watching everyone grow up and each year is just slightly different but with certain key elements (such as "who will sing the line 5 gold rings?" - dad, and "who will give up on the quiz first?" - mum) remaining the same no matter how much time passes. As always I did extremely well present wise and was thoroughly spoilt. I am getting a bit technical this year (no sniggering in the back row please) and my two main presents were a new digital camera (our old one decided to commit suicide) and a camcorder, which means I will never ever do anything constructive ever again as all my time will now be spent making mini-films for no reason. The camcorder is really rather swish and terribly dinky, a small neat compact little thing which reminds me in both size and weight of my old guineapig (I have learned not to question the workings of my brain merely accept the results, life is easier that way) and I have fallen in love with it straight away. A fabulous Christmas all round, I am a very lucky girly.
Incidentally, I was asked the other day by an American reader of my blog what a poppet is. Hard to describe so I did what all good students do and faithfully copied out the dictionary definition:
• noun Brit. informal an endearingly sweet or pretty child.
— origin Latin puppa ‘girl, doll’; related to puppet.
Tinypoppet is actually my mum’s nickname for me, although my Aunt who lives in Switzerland calls my sister “petite poupée” which means little dolly, (I am “petite princesse” – little princess - and my other sister is “petite fée” – little fairy) but I had never linked the two until I looked that up!