Although one should be charitable all year, we are of course entering the season of giving. I do confess to missing my American holidays in the autumn. Both Halloween and Thanksgiving perpetuate the pleasures of graciousness and generosity that have made America famous all over the world. Somehow the English holiday of Bonfire Night, where effigies of baddies are burnt in public fires, seems just too barbaric compared to the simple pleasure of opening one’s door to appreciative children all dressed up, thoughtfully raising their hands to request a single sweet on All Hallows Eve.
Thanksgiving is the most American of American holidays. For those unfamiliar with it, its name is derived from the English words “thanks” and “giving.” It’s a time when Americans pause and reflect on all that they have received over the year (excluding, of course, court subpoenas and STDs). Oh, how I used to love to sit at a fine table, covered with the fruits of my hard labour. It was a time to stop and be thankful for my incredible talent which allowed me to provide such sustenance to myself and those lucky enough to spend the holiday with me. The scrumptious meal was always a sight to behold. The fat turkey carcass so packed with chestnut stuffing that it fell in clumps from between its legs; the preternaturally magenta display of congealed cranberries; the sweet potatoes bathing in an almost solidified river of syrup, holding tightly to marshmallow flotation devices; and the lard dumplings so filling that my great grandfather used the very same recipe as mortar to bond the bricks of his bomb shelter. Beautiful food for a beautiful nation. Thanksgiving reminds us to look outside of ourselves and appreciate all the people who have helped us to reap such a harvest.
However, those people are not acknowledged just on one Thursday of November because Thanksgiving is also the official opening of the Christmas season, when we give them gifts to show our thanks. Of course, I don’t mean that we literally buy presents for those who have grown and harvested our food; those people make plenty of money off me already with the ridiculous price of fresh pineapple and mangoes. Instead we symbolize our appreciation of those people through gifts to friends and family, people we actually care about.
As we are on the cusp of Thanksgiving, I know my American compatriots are busily stocking their cupboards and refrigerators with food that they will undoubtedly end up throwing in the bin by next Monday. I imagine the shopping lists and the car boots filled to the rim. I miss such rituals! As a way to ease my homesickness, Christopher has promised to dine with me tomorrow, having arranged a turkey supper to be delivered from the Rose and Crown. He has also been working all weekend to construct a cornucopia in my drinks cabinets to symbolize the abundance of my earthly rewards. I can say without hesitation that I am very thankful for Christopher, and I only hope that the generous pay packet I give him each week goes some way in showing my gratitude. It’s never quite the same, though, having a Thanksgiving dinner just for two; I only wish more of my neighbours could join me in the feast. However, they are mostly dicks and therefore I do not invite them.
But I hope all my readers, whether American or not, will follow my model of wishing the world a wonderful holiday season. Please be charitable to those less fortunate and give thanks to those you appreciate!
NOTE: To donate to the “I’m So Thankful for Miss Agatha Whitt-Wellington that I’d Like to Help Her Retile Her Roof” Fund, please contact Christopher directly with your credit card details.
As expected, the excitement of this special day has softened all anger I felt about Christopher’s alcohol-fueled shenanigans of evening last. For, as Charles Dickens wrote in the immortal The Muppet Christmas Carol, “He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!”
Creeped little drunk Christopher, the Yuletide souse.
The Alka Seltzer was left right next to the Aga,
In hopes he would grab it instead of some lager. Miss Agatha was nestled all snug in her bed,
Dreams of an incident-free Christmas danced in her head,
Though she quite certain it was too much to ask,
When she discovered that Christopher had taken her flask. When in the kitchen there arose such a clatter,
She sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
She put on her slippers and her silk dressing gown,
Nipped out of the bedroom and headed straight down. The amber of the streetlamp flooded the room
As she entered the kitchen, filling with gloom.
When, what to her wondering eyes did she spy,
But a little-too-merry boy, starting to cry. Though he had promised this year to abstain,
She instantly thought, “Here we go again.”
He claimed to be sorry right down to his core,
Though he was interrupted when he fell to the floor. Oh Stella! Oh, WKD! Oh, Malibu and Coke!
You’ve turned Christopher’s promises into a joke.
The night before Christmas is a time to deck halls,
But he’s pissed away, pissed away, pissed away all!
I hope your Christmas Eve did not include what has now become a tradition round here, a young man coming in intoxicated and spewing what are clearly the issues he has with his mother onto me. For once I’d like to fall asleep on Christmas Eve, dreaming of sugarplums, rather than questioning my level of tolerance that allows this pisshead to live in my home.
If you prefer the traditional version, enjoy and Happy Christmas to all.
As we are approaching the season of consumerism, scratch that, giving, I’ve decided to offer some of my crime prevention suggestions to you, my loyal readers, free of charge. Please do not assume that these suggestions aren’t as valuable as the ones I’ve given in lectures in years past (where the organisers have generally asked for a small monetary donation): it’s just that here you don’t get biscuits. Go grab yourself some if you feel they’re needed for you to be able to pay attention.
I only mention that I’m offering this advice gratis to highlight that, sadly, during the run-up to Christmas, there is a smorgasbord of scammers and dodgy dealers just waiting to relieve you of your hard-earned cash. This is my first tip: be weary of everyone. Now you know me, you trust me, because I’m very likeable, honest and always leave my clientele satisfied, if you know what I mean. So were I to request a small fee, it would be sensible to pay it. However, how many times do you hand over your coins or credit cards to people whom you do not know, admire or find sexually alluring? Just bought your wife a necklace–are you sure the jeweller isn’t in the blood diamond trade? Found a great deal online—how reputable is the company? Are you supporting animal abuse with your holiday meal purchases? The donation you made outside the Post Office—was the fact that the man owned a red bucket all you needed to hand over a tenner? I’m certainly not saying that you shouldn’t buy things from retailers or give money to charities. I’m just saying if you’re going to be mindless about how you throw your money about, don’t come whining to me about being ripped off. And if you are financially supporting corrupt companies and practices, then in many ways you’re just as bad as the criminals themselves. What are you going to do next, kill a fluffy kitten just to watch it die? You disgust me.
Another crime that seems to peak this time of year is pickpocketing. People get so wrapped up in how many errands they have to run or how many purchases they have to make that they let their guards down. They focus on their lists or rushing to beat the queues, and they leave their purses or pockets easily accessible to baddies. My tip to avoid those with sticky fingers is to keep your wallet hidden upon (but not within) your person. Women are advised to keep their cash in their brassieres; men should tuck it discreetly into the pockets of their Y-fronts. Yes, it may be uncomfortable and possibly awkward at the till, but it’s safer, and safety don’t come easy, baby. I do not, though, recommend this technique when shopping in toy stores, for obvious reasons.
Break-ins are also popular during this season. It’s best to assume that burglars are constantly staking out your home. They’re watching you carry in bundles of purchases, they take note of the empty boxes you put out with the recycling, they know when you’re packing the car to go away for a few days. The only way to deal with this threat is to beat them at their own game. Be sensible when displaying new and expensive items you’re bringing into the house; use security lighting outside your home; cancel milk and post delivery, set timers or hire a housesitter if you’re going away; devise a schedule which means a family member is sitting guard at all entry points to your house 24-7 from today until mid-January. Don’t be a passive victim. Getting robbed is terrible, but it stings even more if you could have proactively avoided it.
Lastly, the holiday season includes many parties, and these parties often involve the imbibing of excess amounts of alcohol-based concoctions. As statistics show, when people drink too much, they are more likely to become aggressive which can lead to cruelty, violence and property damage. My tip for avoiding any trips to hospital and/or the local police station is to water down Granny’s sherry from the get go and confiscate both her cane and knitting needles upon arrival.
Be safe and wise when celebrating, my dear ones, and have lovely holiday season!
Well, times sure have changed. When I was younger, a gentleman’s suggestion of a game of Truth or Dare usually ended up with a memorable five minutes of fumbling in a darkened cupboard. Not anymore, I’m afraid.
When Christopher arrived at mine, let’s just say it was obvious he had already been drinking in the beauty of the season. After pouring me my evening tipple, he asked if he could join me. I, of course, said of course. Once a few bottles were emptied, Christopher suggested a round of the Truth or Dare.
Now when I was a child, our Christmas Eve rituals often involved game-playing so I thought it a rather charming suggestion. Although my plan was to subtly increase the “danger” of the dares (a strategy successfully used against myself on many an occasion), I was a bit disappointed that Christopher continually opted for truth and extremely disappointed when he told me his first kiss was nothing like I had imagined (in minute detail, at least once a day) it to have been. Soon the mood turned: the game itself was abandoned entirely and I ended up spending my Christmas Eve—a time when other women were being cherished and showered with gifts—listening to a long list of rather vicious admissions, sprayed across my person like graffiti on a bridge. These included the indictment of my hats as “less than flattering,” the confession that not a single one of my books has been read cover to cover by Christopher or any member of his immediate family and perhaps most hurtful, despite every indication to the contrary, Christopher does not in fact enjoy brushing my hair before bed each night.
This holiday assault ended with a quick rush out of the room followed by a disturbing eruption (Malibu is just as unpleasant coming out as it is going in). Vomit is well known for snapping people out of their stupors; it worked its acidic charm on Christopher, and the apologies began to be begged. I laid him down on the sofa and placed a damp washrag on his brow. He was weeping and asking my forgiveness (in between dry heaves). He has only just now fallen to sleep. It’s no wonder old St Nick chose to bypass our address this Noel.
If there is one thing my family has taught me, it is that Christmas is not Christmas unless someone’s feelings are hurt (or someone blows chunks): the fact that both happened here tonight can only mean Christopher and I are indeed a real family. Tomorrow I shall give him his gifts and, once he’s cleaned up the messes, our December 25 will carry on as usual. This hasn’t really been my favourite Christmas Eve, but it certainly hasn’t been my most dramatic. A silly drunken boy hardly holds a candle to the night I became radioactive.
Many of you will be waking soon and I hope Santa Claus has left you everything on your lists. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.
Can I just say how happy I am to have all of you? Honestly, despite my international popularity, in many ways, it’s you, my readers, who mean the most to me of all. Honestly, I mean it, I love you, guys. You’re my best friends.
I hope you’re having a lovely Christmas day. I am. I mean, I am really having a lovely Christmas. My morning was just lovely—-I was up a bit late last night so I’m afraid I was still in bed with Christopher arrived. But what a lovely surprise to hear him rapping at my bedroom door, delivering a lovely cup of tea (I had the decency not to comment on the lack of toast). After my bath, he and I exchanged gifts. He got me a lovely piece of artwork for my boudoir. It’s such a thoughtful pressie. Christopher is so lovely. Later, we had a lovely meal. And, of course, the Queen’s speech. Well, that was lovely.
Christopher and I are just tucking into some lovely sherry and maybe a mince pie or two. I trust you are, too. Have a lovely Christmas, dear ones, I love you. I mean it. For some reason, I’m just so full of love that I could even kiss a ginger if there were one here (though thankfully there is not).
And to all, a good night!