“There is a remarkable breakdown of taste and intelligence at Christmastime. Mature, responsible grown men wear neckties made of holly leaves and drink alcoholic beverages with raw egg yolks and cottage cheese in them.” ~P.J. O’Rourke

In our family when it comes to Xmas, nothing succeeds like excess. I haven’t quite gotten to the holly leaf neckties, and am not a great fan of eggnog, but I have embraced the fact that our house fills up with unusual and varied decorations, including one Santa that dances and sings “jingle bells” loudly in response to a hand clap or any loud noise. He scares the hell out of the dogs as he responds to any bark in his vicinity, and if our Jack Russell (Dottie) was a metre taller she would rip the singing Santa apart …
I know how she feels, as after about 2 days I am tempted to do it myself and to blame it on the dogs, but I am sure that my wife would compare the teeth marks.

Our tiny village hangs out its 4 Xmas lights down our one street, which for a village of 300 inhabitants is the equivalent of the lights on the main strip in Las Vegas, and which drain the power supply for surrounding cottages.

It has also taken me a while to get used to the Northern Hemisphere winter Xmas, as for most of my life Xmas meant the beach, picnics and air conditioning. Here it is thermals, gum-boots, woolly hats and log fires. By Xmas most residents of Europe have covered themselves in sheep fat and sewn themselves into their underwear for the winter.

This year, as ever, Europe is covered in snow. Airports are closed, trains aren’t running, and roads are a hazard. This actually happens every year, but when it does come everyone is shocked, as though it was a once in a lifetime occurrence. The UK always runs out of grit for de-icing the roads, and every year has to place an emergency order for sand to be shipped in from Egypt. The M25 London ring road motorway (and at most times the world’s longest car park) becomes an extension of the Sahara, without the good weather and without the easy mobility.

We have had our first snow flurries in South-west France, but not yet heavy enough to disrupt the daily baguette home deliveries. The posties have switched from motor scooters to vans to be able to cope with the mountains of Xmas cards, despite the growing acceptance of e-cards, and so have added to the dangers on the roads (see “Vive le French Driver” posted on Nov 15, 2010), and all over France pigs and dogs are limbering up noses in readiness for the truffle season (see “Vive le Truffe” posted 25 July, 2010). Geese with enlarged livers in Perigord are starting to look decidedly nervous, as are husbands who haven’t yet bought the gifts for their wife, knowing full well that the cost of the gift will be in inverse proportion to the number of days left before Xmas day. To be on the safe side of fiscal responsibility married men should do all their Xmas shopping in January, keeping in mind that it is not easy to keep things hidden, and remember where you hid them, for 11 months.

All in all, a fairly standard holiday season.

I hope you all have a wonderful Xmas and New Year, and that all your wildest dreams are realised in 2011. May your Xmas gifts be useful and welcome, or at least exchangeable, and your clothes continue to fit after the excesses of the holiday period. May all your new year’s resolutions become reality, or at least be not remembered by those that you have told, and in the words of Bob Dylan “May you stay forever young”.


7 Responses to HO HO HO

  1. Maureen O'Shea says:

    Thanks Les! Christmas came early for me today … perfect new role starting in 2011, and my house in the country also sold today! Wishing you a day of merriment and good cheer!

  2. Frank says:

    “I hope you all have a wonderful Xmas and New Year, and that all your wildest dreams are realised in 2011. ” Love the “wildest dreams”.. and to you Les and your family, both 2 legged and four..
    Thanks for the blogs, the insights and memories. rgds, Frank

  3. Mal Booth says:

    All the best to you and Victoria for the holiday season, and may you have a wonderful 2011.

  4. leshayman says:

    Same to you Mal … have a great Xmas and 2011.

  5. Roisin says:

    Raising a glass to you and Victoria and sending you Season’s Greetings ! Wishing you all the very best in 2011.

  6. leshayman says:

    Hi Roisin,
    Best of everything for 2011. Hopefully we will get a chance soon to toast the new year.

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