I’m in such a quandary about the holidays.
Miniaturists are, in the main, polarized about Christmas. Some decorate their dolls’ houses with more enthusiasm than they do their real houses, some buy presents for the dolls and some buy dolls as presents. Others ignore the holiday completely. Our Russian next door neighbours frequently go on foreign holidays, often arriving back on Christmas day to a cold house and left-overs from the freezer and the airport catering and they’re not even miniaturists. Their reason is that not every country in the world celebrating Christmas does the gift giving on the day. The gifts are in memory of the gifts given by the three wise men, who arrived after the birth of Jesus. To be absolutely fair it is all a crock of crockery anyway, cooked up by the church and bolted on to a pre-existing winter festival; we should really be celebrating in spring, which was the beginning of the calendar year until a few hundred years ago and more likely to be the actual birthday anyway.
So why the fuss and angst? Really, in the modern world, when you remove the consumer credit card fest from the celebrations, Christmas is about family. All the old films on television that have us crying into the giant-sized toffee tin are always about family, whether they look like angels or robots or cartoon teddy bears. It’s the one time in the year when we are supposed to bury the hatchet in the nearest and dearest and get fat together on three month’s worth of sugar in a day.
This, of course, is why miniaturists are never ambivalent about it. If you build your own particular, miniature, controllable version of reality, where the children are always neat, everyone is well, no one dies or gets divorced and there is abundant cash for the best of everything, you are not likely to be very keen to have aged aunty Such-a-one farting all the way through breakfast every day for a week. Neither will you have enthusiasm for the way your ex (invited for the children) manages to down quite so much of the good stuff while making snidey comments about your herculean efforts with the decor. You will not love the remaining parent’s new better half dribbling soup on your best tablecloth while telling off-colour jokes to your teenagers. You may actually hate the long lost cousin who turns up, disappears and is found sleeping something dubious off, in your bed, at two in the morning when you’ve just finished all the washing up.
Yes, Christmas is about family and what a strange bunch they are.
It’s almost worse if you have to go to their freezing house with the engulfing sofa, smelly dog and insanitary kitchen for a ‘light bite’. Who really, really puts out those vol-au-vants filled with either scalding boiled-down mushroom soup or clay cold tomato mayonnaise? You shouldn’t have gone to the bother. Oh I do mean it.
Roll all of that into one demented relative who could be suddenly ill at any minute, who will be confused if there is too much fuss, aggressive if there is anything unusual, difficult if she is tired, upset generally and so on and it’s a good thing to make it last exactly one day.
It is always hard knowing it may be the last holiday for a family member, when they are very ill as the season approaches, you really don’t know what to do for the best, especially if, like me, you’ve never been much of a fan of the holiday anyway. I formed the opinion long ago that Christmas is a festival of work for women and have not changed it since.
I’ve given the carers twenty-four hours off, the plan is that my other half and I will go there on Christmas Eve and leave on Christmas night and in between adjust the day to whatever the patient can cope with.
Roll on 2014. 2013 has been S H one T on a stick, without the stick and then, to cap it all, it’s Christmas.
Proofreading this I think I sound thoroughly selfish and nasty. The problem is that, no matter what the circumstances, including not even liking it, women are supposed to make Christmas wonderful. This year I have been pre-forgiven if I buy a premium quality bread sauce from somewhere expensive instead of making it. I regard bread sauce as the nearest you can get to sick on a plate but now I have to shop around for the diamond studded kind; I must drop a line to the Queen and ask what she’s having.
I bet she’s having the relatives too, poor woman.
Next year, if I have no responsibilities, I plan to hibernate right through it.
JanebahhumbugLaverick.com – grumpy.