The night before Christmas was in need of a rewrite...
- Credit: Archant
There’s no need to panic. It will be all right.
Christmas used to be so simple; A selection box, a couple of annuals and some bath cubes. Now you get emailed lists with internet links.
In 1971 a coconut had been top of Lynne’s Christmas wish list. One gaily-wrapped package shouted coconut, mainly because it was hard and coconut-shaped. Lynne was thrilled and, after dad went up the shed and brought back a hammer, she was able to break it open and claim shards of the succulent flesh.
She gave a bit each to her sister, mum, dad and nanna. Suddenly, nanna clutched her jaw and whispered: “Oh no.”
“What is it, nanna?”
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“My teeth. I’ve broken my teeth... I’ve had them since 1948,” she said and a tear rolled down her powdered cheek. Her upper set of early NHS dentures had snapped under the strain of biting into coconut.
Nanna Jeffries always wore a picture hat to bingo. A war widow, she had worked in the Co-op weighing out rations during the war years and she was very much of the waste-not-want-not generation. Her annual Christmas task was to peel the sprouts, which she carried out with forensic attention to detail. If only half a leaf was shrivelled, only half a leaf was discarded.
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It’s all different now... so different that maybe it’s time to revise the famous 1823 Christmas poem The Night Before Christmas.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a computer was whirring, not even a mouse.
The online shopping had all been done
Though the sprouts and stuffing were barely begun
The children were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of playstations danced in their heads
And mum in her onesie was faint from the heat
And dad pulled his musical socks on his feet
Then out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
I sprung from the bed to see what was the matter
Had inflatable Santa flown over the privet
Or the LED flashing elf done something illicit?
The moon on the breast (it’s in the original) of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of midday to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his reindeer they came
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name
Now Niall, now Louis, Now Liam and Harry
Now you Zayn, on Simon, on Sharon and Gary
St Nick had made the X Factor connection
As his reindeer are named for the band One Direction
It wasn’t my B&Q Christmas array
That I saw through the window, just over the way
But then on to the house-top the reindeer they flew
With a sleigh full of toys and St Nicholas too.
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof
As I drew in my head and was turning around
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
Or doubtless he would’ve but the truth be told
Our house is not so terribly old
We don’t have a chimney, just a central heating flue
But St Nick, he still managed to worm his way through.
Over the centuries he’s become quite adept
At working out where all the stockings are kept
As if by some magic he appeared by the telly,
With a smile on his face and a great wobbly belly.
He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot
He took a short step but then let out a shout
When he fell, having slipped on a peeled Brussels sprout.
Though he knocked over his sherry and squashed his mince pies
He didn’t get flustered nor once lose his poise.
His eyes – how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, it must be the sherry.
He spoke not a word but went straight to his work
And filled all the stockings then turned with a jerk.
He waved a goodbye and without further ado
He hoicked up his cloak and was whisked up the flue.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle
And away they all flew like the down of the thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”