Laughter, Mishaps & Board Games

As we all wait in anticipation to see what St Nick brings us overnight, my mind drifts back to Christmas Day last year. Personally, I wanted it to drift to a sunny clime where I’m sat with a cold beer and the 2017 Margot Robbie calendar. However, my mind can be a stubborn so and so at times, preferring instead a nostalgic journey back to yuletide 2015.

Last year’s Christmas Day was an occasion of laughter, warmth, gluttony and board games in the company of my family. It started traditionally with the opening of gifts, me saying “Flipping heck, not another soap on a rope!” and the exchanging of the flu vaccine.

It didn’t start too well mind you, as we did have to free Santa from the Strachan family bear trap. This had been inadvertently set the previous evening when my daughter Rachel misheard me say “Whatever you do, DON’T set the bear trap!”

Santa was a bit shaken and admitted he’d have preferred to be greeted with the traditional mince pie and a carrot! However, he remained confident he could complete his deliveries with the damaged ankle ligaments he’d sustained!

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After a hearty full English breakfast, cooked and eaten to the sound of classical Christmas carols sung by a choir, wife Karen, Rachel and I embarked on a general tidy up before the arrival of other family members.

When we woke, the house wasn’t in too bad a shape. However, the 50 strong choir had since made a right mess, with discarded top hats, chestnut shells and hip flasks strewn across the living room!

Not without cause, family members questioned whether the performance of beautifully melodic festive carols was worth the subsequent littering by the choral ensemble.

After my wife Karen and I had tidied up the house and removed the blood stain caused by Santa’s unfortunate run in with a bear trap, we ventured upstairs to get showered and don our new Christmas jumpers.

We were expecting our son Jonny and his girlfriend (now fiancée) Jenny to arrive from York at around midday. However, I received a text from my lad at around that time to say they’d been slightly delayed. He didn’t go into details, but I hoped he hadn’t set his bear trap in error as well, delaying (and injuring) Santa further!

They finally got here around 12.30pm. Presents were exchanged, followed by a Christmas tipple and a toast to the festive season. We imbibed prosecco or beer as a we toasted our health, happiness and Macauley Culkin’s home protection strategy at this spiritual time!

Dinner was taken at 2pm when the food was ready. We didn’t have it at 1 pm as it hadn’t cooked by then, or at 3pm as it would have been chuffing stone cold! So it turned out we picked a good time to eat!

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We hadn’t seen Jonny and Jenny for a few weeks so we had lots to talk about! Over dinner, Karen, Rachel and I furnished them of tales of recent holidays, nights out, gigs and meeting various local celebrities. We told them some true stuff as well, but they appeared to enjoy the made up stories more.

It all seemed to be going well until Rachel started sharing her recent California and Las Vegas break anecdotes. At this point Jonny feigned a bilious attack, before dashing from the dining table, narrowly missing the bear trap which Karen had inexplicably reset.

A great tradition on Christmas Day in the UK and Commonwealth is the annual Queens Speech to her subjects. We have a further family folklore in our house where Karen, after the Queen concludes her speech, marks the occasion with her own Christmas message to her brood. It’s not a wordy monologue, but without fail adds to our day.

Her 2015 narrative, delivered with us hanging to her every word, was as memorable as ever. I’m paraphrasing here, but from memory the speech went something like this:- “Jonny, do you want Christmas pudding with cream for dessert? Or melt in the middle chocolate pudding? Or cheesecake?”

I’m sure you will agree a lot of thought, confectionery research, editing and dessert buying went into the monologue. Amazingly, Jonny just plumped for the Christmas pudding not all three, as he’s normally a right greedy get!!

After dinner, the day was taken up with board games (James Bond Trivial Pursuit and Gogglebox), along with watching festive movies on TV (Home Alone 2 and Muppets Christmas Carol).

At the end of 25th December, just before retiring for slumber, I was asked by my wife what was the favourite present. The response “Anything you didn’t buy me!” apparently wasn’t the right answer!

In all seriousness, though, I liked all of the gifts bequeathed 12 months ago, but if pushed would say I got most joy from receiving a goose that lays golden eggs.……….. Or I did until I found out it was a gander!!

Hopefully, tomorrow we can reproduce the family bonding (and avoid the bear trap incident) of last year’s Christmas Day, when my parents are our dinner guests.

Right, I’m off to learn the answers to the James Bond Trivial Pursuit questions….. There is no flipping way I’m losing out to Karen again this year!

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