Twelfth Night

Christmas TreeTook the Christmas decorations down the other night. It’s always such a sad couple of hours picking up tinsel and Christmas lights and stockings and stuffed reindeer toys etc. Packing them into plastic crates that go back in the garage for 12 months, being careful not to break the tree decorations, nor the spine on the edition of A Night Before Christmas that belonged to my wife’s father. It’s dated 1948, the year Atlee’s Labour government nationalized British Rail, the year of the London Olympics, and CBS’s first broadcast of its evening news show, still the longest running new network show in the U.S.. It’s also the year of the First Arab-Israeli War, and the Genocide convention, but I was trying to start with something light.

So we pack up everything and take down the tree, put a plastic bag over and stick it outside. They’ve been gathering all week, Xmas trees on their sides next to the garbage cans. We always wait until twelfth night, January 5th, a la tradition, though we forego the bonfire. So, another one in the books, and a pretty good one at that. Massive over-indulgence on all fronts. Didn’t exercise once in two weeks, mince pies and cake and beers and scotch and more mince pies and bread pudding and chocolate logs and stuffed dates and on and on. Just stuffing ourselves with food and lots of TV. Of course there’s more to it. The kids had a blast Chrimbo day. The 4 year old got a batman lair thing with moving parts that he played with without interruption for 6 hours on Christmas day, then on Boxing day announced he was done with it and we could give it away. I still have the receipt my wife says, and I can see the wheels turning—trade one in each week for a return of 6 hours of uninterrupted bliss. Certainly worth pondering.

And it was special to watch the little tykes rip through their prezzies on Xmas day and then look up eagerly with this “wait where’s the rest?” look on their faces though they can barely see over the massive pile of stuff in front of them. Oh, the joy of the season, Slade in the background, followed by Wham, and the sad irony of that a few hours later. But you plough on, cause it’s Christmas, and on Christmas you’re allowed a beer at ten in the morning cause it goes admirably well with stollen and eggnog.

But all done now for another year. The eggnog 50% off down the local Safeway, all the new board games we played once abandoned at the back of closets, and I’ve written out a detailed January exercise program which involves no alcohol whatsoever for the first week, and, then, after that, limited amounts at limited intervals. Friday night without one might as well be a Monday, but definitely dry as an emaciated llama on school nights though we still have 4 or 5 episodes of The Crown to get through, which you really need a drink with as you watch Churchill sipping his whisky with his porridge, and I definitely need something to help me get through the sad sight of that dishevelled tree sitting on the front step wrapped in plastic. So maybe I should shift the start date to the middle of the month?

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