This week everything is very Christmassy here in Rees towers. Despite my griping about Christmas coming too early in the shops, once again, I’ve fallen for the whole yule-tide jamboree hook, line and sinker. I’m weepy-eyed at the kids singing carols and have ‘pomander thumb’ an uncomfortable condition caused by pushing sharp cloves into unforgiving oranges. Reams of paper have been made into snowflakes and I even got the sewing machine out and made Christmas bunting. Yes, I’m full of Christmas spirit. (Well, champagne actually. But there’s much to celebrate.)
This is all in marked contrast to this time last year, when Emlyn and I had one of the worst rows of our marriage. It was a full-frontal scream-a-thon during which he accused me of being a Christmas Nazi and added that I’d been relentlessly cheerful for three and a half weeks and he was sick of it. I retorted that he was a lazy, bah-humbug scrooge and ought to stop hiding with his computer and join in the Christmas proceedings, there being three excited little girls in the house.
He then countered that Christmas was all my problem. Christmas, he told me, was invented by women for women. It’s women who are competitive about it, not men. Men don’t give a reindeer’s fart if the house is tidy, or decorated, or whether any Christmas cards have been bought, written, sealed, stamped and posted.
I flapped my mouth open like a guppy fish, astonished at his outburst. And then, to drive the point home, he added that ever since the time of Jesus himself, the husband’s only role in Christmas has been to open the door to unwanted visitors.
So there you have it, girls. A bird’s eye blokes view on Christmas. We laugh about it now, but I’ve taken on board the grain of truth at the heart of the row. There is no point being angry at men for not doing much in the run up to Christmas. Because they don’t care as much as we do. Fact.
But being described as a Christmas Nazi hurt. A lot. Probably because it was a bit more accurate than I wanted to admit. But then, suppressing my inner-Nigella and the hopeless feelings of inadequacy that goes with it, is hard at this time of year. Adding festering resent of one’s spouse on top is a toxic mix.
Acceptance and serenity and lots of booze is the answer, I think. This year, I am trying very hard not to be a Christmas Nazi, although I am being relentlessly cheerful. I can’t help it. But I’m happy to do solo Christmas shopping in my deeply inefficient dithery sort of way. And I even de-tangled the Christmas lights for the tree all by myself. I’ve signed all the Christmas cards from all of us and the marital involvement only has to extend, for today at least, to the Middle One’s Winter Wonderland Christmas play this afternoon and the Year 2 parents piss-up tonight. And so far, so good, although there is a week to go.
I’ll report back, to let you know whether my new ‘acceptance and serenity’ policy holds up through the inevitable packing-the-car row, or the inspection of presents critique on Christmas Eve!