Category Archives: Christmas Time

Christmas can’t come fast enough

It’s All About the Presents

The Sooty Party Pack

The Sooty Party Pack

So, here it is mid December already and we’re hurtling towards Christmas day. Where’s the time gone? We’ve had the tree up for three months, Christmas music chiming through the house non-stop for even longer, and the word, “Presents,” dropped into so many sentences, The Girl is starting to sound like Gollum on his quest for that confounded ring.

So far, I’ve bought the gifts, got the crackers and organized the Christmas lunch menu. It does not include pork dumplings. Thirty-three-point-three percent of those surveyed in our household are going to be disappointed.

It’s not the dog.

Furthermore, judging by The Girl’s Christmas present requests, this isn’t going to be the only disappointment come Christmas morning. Amongst the catalogue of gifts she has repeatedly requested and fully expects to unwrap on the day are these:
This Old Man: A windup plastic tape deck put out by Fisher Price, circa 1984. The Girl had one passed on to her by her cousin. It came with two tapes, one of which played This Old Man on one side and London Bridge is Falling Down on the other. The deck refused to play after being over-wound and disappeared after I asked someone to try and fix it.

Telephone: A blue plastic telephone which spoke with the most annoying adenoidal voice. It asked questions and when The Girl made her selection, the telephone would respond accordingly. The transcripts would have sounded like this:
“Can you find red heart…NO! Can you find red heart…NO! Can you find…” Ad infinitum – or ad nauseum, depending on who’s listening. It could easily have driven me over the edge.

Teletubbies CD: Even if I could find one of these, it’s unlikely I’d buy it. We’ve already got The Smurfs Go Pop! What more could we want?

Smurf CD: See Teletubbies CD above. We already own almost every Smurf DVD in creation as well – most of which feature the same episodes that have been cunningly repackaged and marketed under such titles as: Just Smurfy One – 13 Smurfy Adventures!

Pat Benetar Best Shots: God spare me. If you read my post Music, You Are My Obsession, you’d need no further explanation.

Chocolate: Really? I mean, seriously? She’s never asked for chocolate before. She’s diabetic, for cryin’ out loud. Christmas dinner is going to drive her blood glucose levels into the stratosphere as it is. Believe me, it won’t need jet boosters.

Games: Sounds simple, right? Wrong! There’s only one game she wants and that’s Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart. It’s a game that we already own, along with the second choice, which is Spyro the Dragon. Not gonna happen, Sweets.

Pauline: I don’t even know who Pauline is. If she turns up for Christmas dinner, she’s on cleanup duty.

Money: Now, I’m not entirely sure The Girl fully comprehends the concept of money. She sees it’s necessary for the acquisition of items from The Warehouse and the video store, but she doesn’t seem to understand where it comes from or where it’s kept. She’ll probably get money for Christmas, but it’ll go into her bank account. I doubt that’s what she’s got in mind.

Dead Cat: She already has a mangled toy cat named, appropriately, the Dead Cat. I suspect the relationship with Dead Cat is such that to truly appreciate a toy, you can’t do better than to have a backup.

Sooty: Sooty and Sweep featured in a British children’s television show by the same name and starred a small yellow bear puppet that never spoke, and a gray dog that squeaked. Their “puppet handler” was Matthew Corbett who stepped into the shoes of his aging dad and took over the show. I have yet to find a children’s television presenter with a greater abhorrence for his target audience. We have two of their videos. How some of Mr. Corbett’s vitriolic responses to those sweet little children’s comments ever made it to air is beyond me.
Sooty and Sweep still remain a favourite of The Girl, so it’s no surprise that she requests her beloved Sooty. Proved by the fact that I’ve fallen for this on at least four other occasions because she has four full-sized Sooty glove puppets in various states of dishevelment, two Sweep puppets, one panda Sue, and a pair of tiny Sooty and Sweep dolls. Even if I could find them – which I can’t – enough is enough.

So what do you get The Girl whose only requests are either unavailable, off the menu or potentially lethal? It’s never easy. This year she’s getting a PlayStation 3 snowboarding game that keeps going no matter how many times you crash and die; three colouring books, complete with pens and no crayons; a Pink CD because I like it; and a 1kg pack of Playdough that’ll no doubt transform from twelve bright, shiny colours into a sickly khaki glob within the first twenty minutes.

Merry Christmas, my little cherry bomb.

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December 21, 2012 · 2:52 am

Do They Know It’s Christmas

You know how it goes – there’s that nip in the air, the roaring fires and shorter days. Christmas carols echo through the house and the dulcet tones of Do They Know It’s Christmas can be heard reverberating from the shower.

I have one problem with this picture. It’s that The Girl and I live in the southern hemisphere and all of the above transpires in July. That’s right, I’m being hounded about Christmas in July. Why?

Let me tell you.

So I’ve made it all the way through to October. I finally put up our Christmas tree last weekend. According to some in our house, it’s at least three months late but it’s a month earlier than normal. I tell people that we love Christmas. Well, who doesn’t? I tell people that I put the tree up early because we want to make the most of Christmas. But that leads to a problem.

Having the tree up for three out of the twelve months of the year takes its toll. The fake branches are a little misshapen from being shoved in that box every year and the polyester needles are showing signs of fading. Well, what do you expect in midsummer? The thing is right next to the window in full sun. Most of our decorations have gone from jolly red to a pale putrid pink. As for the candy canes, well, they wound up sticky enough to hang on the tree without help and I had to toss them last year.

So this year, I decided to buy a new tree. Yes, it’s still a fake one. But now there’s talk of ‘tips’. If you’re in the market for a new Christmas tree, you better get the lingo right. The better trees have at least a thousand tips, Darling. Oh, yes, Sweetie, you can’t possibly have a tree with less than a thousand ‘tips’, could you? I mean, more is more, isn’t it, Darling?

And so, after much nagging, some grizzling and an enduring level of whine from The Girl, I began the hunt. Unfortunately, the retail stores in New Zealand are not as onto it as we are. They don’t revel in the glory that is Christmas. They don’t rejoice in the festive season and break out the excessive merriment – at least not in July, August or September, they don’t.

October? Whoa! Different ballgame altogether!

Now there are trees and decorations spilling from every store. There are lights and baubles and trinkets and glitter for all. All at ridiculous prices, of course.

I found my new tree in a hobby store for $79. It was such a bargain that I actually covered it when I had to leave it in the back seat of the car while we went to rent the same damned video game we rent every week (sorry, that’s another story), in case someone broke into my car and stole my tree and I had to pay the exorbitant price all the other stores are asking for something almost exactly the same.

So we get the tree home. First thing The Girl says is, “Christmas tree.”

“Alright already, I’m putting the damned thing up!” I tell her  lovingly.

So a thousand tips, eh? Holy moly. The thing comes in three sections. Putting that together takes about a minute and a half. The straightening and positioning of 998 tips (two broke off)  takes at least three hours. Especially when you want to place the baubles in any sort of order. So a thousand ‘tips’. Take my advice. Get a real tree.

And true to every other year we’ve done this, The Girl sat on couch watching me until the last decoration is finally hanging on the tree. I stand back and say, “What do you  think?”

She gives me a filthy look, says , “Presents,” then goes to her room to play the video game.

The presents will come. There’s no point in putting them out until the last minute because they’ll be ripped apart in record time. And the instant that’s over, she’ll start hounding me about her birthday…

…which is in June.

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