Christmas Truce, Sort of…

Published by Rick on Tagged Uncategorized

Well, I’ve gotten all my shopping done, my cards have been sent, my presents wrapped and under the tree, and yesterday, my girlfriend and I did the shopping for the Christmas feast, which we’re preparing for her daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. The total was £123 at Sainsbury’s market (haven’t checked how crap the exchange rate is right now, would £123 be about $130 now?), plus odds and sods at other shops, and we’ll be cooking from about 10:00 on Christmas morning until our guests arrive around 4:00.

I don’t recall ever having a big to-do on Christmas Day when I was growing up. I think most American families feel they get that out of the way on Thanksgiving. Usually my brother and I would spend the bulk of our days playing with our gifts, and maybe some friend of the family would come by in the evening. My brother and his wife started a tradition of their own, throwing an open Christmas Eve party which usually would start around sundown and be done by about 8:00, and often about 100 people would come through. They did this for about 25 years, but have since called a halt to it. My last wife was impressed enough by the idea that she did the same thing the last couple years we were together, albeit on a smaller scale.

For me in England, the Christmas season was hell right up until the 23rd, as I was booked to play multiple Christmas parties at Jongleurs Comedy Club every December. I did this for eight consecutive years, and the advantage was we usually got time-and-a-half pay for our sets, so with gigs going five nights a week, well, actually the money was one of the few perks. The downside was the gigs were multiple office parties, with people drinking since about lunchtime, and not really in a mood to be quiet and listen to someone else talk. Not all of them were bad, but let’s just say the worst I ever had to deal with was an obnoxious group from a Santander Bank branch in Leicester, the leader of whom (a female) shouted out “Show us your cock” before I had even said anything. From there, anything else was uphill. Also, we had turkey almost every freaking night, so by the time December 25th came around, I felt more like going to Burger King for variety’s sake, plus I was too frazzled to contribute much to the festivities.

I obviously miss the money I used to make, but I sure don’t miss what I had to go through to get it. I like the relative calm I’ve had in the past few years, where it’s been a small gathering of close friends, with a ton of food, a moderate amount of booze, and a minimal amount of stress. Yes, I’ll be spending the good part of Christmas day chopping up vegetables and mixing up various gravies and sauces, but the only one who will be scrutinising me will be my girlfriend, who’s a veteran of these feasts, and I would trust she knows what side her (gluten-free) bread is buttered on. I think it’s OK to end that sentence with a preposition.

This has been a year of many disappointments, one being the unusually high number of respected people in so many fields passing on, to the personal loss of my dad coupled with the break-up of a close family unit, and finally to those two big political upheavals in both of my home countries. Thankfully, the political stuff has not estranged anyone from my immediate scope of friends and family. I’ve read several stories on Facebook of the plight of some families who have chosen to not speak to one another and have cancelled Christmas reunions as a result. My dad may have chosen the right moment to check out.

Personally, I have decided to refrain from political debate for the next three days, enjoy the holiday, and count my blessings. This is not made easy by the fact that the President-non-elect won’t shut down his Twitter account for that same amount of time, so more petty and outrageous things come out to make me despise him and anyone who voted for him even more, but I will try to keep civil about it all. My country that I will be visiting towards the end of January may have a different feel to it when I get there, but I have time to prepare for that. Plus my girlfriend and I are going away right after New Year’s to the beautiful Southern coastal village of Rye, so maybe I’ll wait until January 3 or 4 to start getting pissed off again.

I must think about all the things to be thankful for, the big one being that I don’t live in the US anymore and it would make little or no sense to move back there anytime in the future. England has its own problems with Brexit, which at least has no definite timetable, whereas there’s reason to fear America’s shitstorm begins shortly after the 20th of January. Brexit may take years to implement, while the Orange Führer and his Billionaire Buddies will already be poised and on the attack by the time I arrive only a week after the inauguration. And that’s all I’m going to say about it, really!

Hope those of you reading this are with people you love, Merry Christmas to all of you, and let’s make the best out of whatever 2017 offers!


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