I don’t care much for Christmas. Never really have. I’m not sure why.
It might be something to do with being required to be happy (and subsequently being moaned at for not managing it to the required standard). Forced to be happy against my will.
That might sound alien to many people, but I know that there are others who feel the same. I belong to an insignificant group of people who aren’t afraid to say that they are more annoyed or irritated by the fuss of Christmas than excited by it. We’re a small collection of souls who don’t ‘really get’ the vastly over-commercialised and hugely expensive event known as Christmas. A disenfranchised flock of seagulls that would rather fly away, than suffer the tergid trial of the festive season.
Why do I feel this way? It’s hard to say.
It could be just an over-exagerated reaction to the moderately sized mountain of yuletide marketing that festoons our channels from the beginning of November until Christmas Eve (when, in TV terms, Xmas is forced aside by adverts about ‘the sales’ and next year’s holiday…)
It could be the desire for Xmas shoppers to strip the food shelves bare to survive the prospect of starvation during the single day of the year that the shops close.
It may well be the inner Yorkshireman in me that makes me ‘smart like a smacked bottom’ because I’m obliged to buy gifts for people who don’t want, need or like them.
In truth, it could well be be a combination of all these things. It’s not even about money. I was still a miserable chuff when I had a good job and a healthy salary.
For me, if I think about it long and hard, Christmas hasn’t really been enjoyable since my dear old parents shuffled off to the big Christmas party in the sky. They were married, rather bizarrely, on Christmas Eve.
For as long as I can remember, the highlight event wasn’t Christmas Day, but Christmas Eve, when mum (having saved up all year) would treat us all to sizeable and costly cuts of steak followed by laughably overdosed sherry trifle, amongst other things. To me, mum and dad’s anniversary was the first day of the festive frivolities; an unconventional kickstart to Christmas and I loved it. Their house was small, and easily crowded by the returning fledglings and their partners, but it was fun.
So, this year, despite being almost completely devoid of any festive spirit, I am going to try and revive the event by hosting the anniversary party. Ably assisted by my son, I am going to cook up the most revered dish from mum’s repertoire, the cow pie, a thing of legend amongst my siblings. Similar to a traditional meat and potato pie, Cow Pie is truly vast and requires an enamel dish so humongous that it can be seen from space. Big, cooked to perfection and enveloped in pastry made from lard, flour and love in equal measure. Pastry so short, that it could probably kill you, but you’d die smiling.
You might have noticed that my mood lifted just by describing it.
Seeing it sat on the table, steaming gently, in front of a small crowd of drooling siblings, might just be enough to properly get me going.
If it isn’t, a liberal splash of Henderson’s Relish (required by law in Sheffield) will definitely do the trick.
I can’t help likening myself to Scrooge, in that we have both been visited by the ghosts of Christmas past (metaphorically speaking).
The fact that mine told me to bake a ‘bloody great pie’ makes me laugh out loud.