There’s Magic in the air this evening…
CAN you feel that? There’s magic in the air today because boys and girls, today is Christmas Eve, and that calls for a bumper edition of the View from the Blue. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you choose to feel the magic of course. I hear a lot of people tell me that they hate Christmas and when I ask them why, they give a number of reasons that really don’t amount to anything at all. They hate having to buy presents for others, they hate all the crap on the telly and some of them even hate having to see relatives that they don’t think a whole lot of. There are people out there that have genuine reasons for hating Christmas, they may be alone or are forced to spend it in a place that is a far cry from somewhere they once called home. If you are surrounded by people who love you this Christmas, you have cause to only be happy and possibly ecstatic actually. And this brings us nicely on to the final part of our Waterford Christmas Countdown.
So, it’s Christmas Eve and that can only mean one thing – you still have half your presents to buy. For me it means cursing myself for trying to be elaborate and extra thoughtful with my presents this year because I now I have to collect things I wanted to get personalised and printed and turned into key-rings and fridge magnets. This is also a day for reflection, especially on all those people who have their shopping done since November and are now sitting in the window of Geoffs sipping on an Irish Coffee and laughing at the likes of me running around like a headless chicken. I suppose we should probably spare a thought for all those people who have to work on Christmas Eve as well. God speed you retail heroes!
So, you wrap your last lynx gift set (this is a horrible present to get for someone by the way – I think I’d rather get socks.)…and you can finally think about putting on some nice clothes and heading out to the pub. For some reason I always associate Christmas Eve with wearing new clothes that are not quite worn in yet. Shoes that are cutting the feet off ya, jeans that are a bit too tight and a jumper that will never again look as perfect as it does at this moment.
We’re all in a pub, possibly eating pub grub but definitely downing festive pints. “What day is it?” someone asks. “I haven’t a clue” is the reply. And you won’t know what days you have again until the tree is taken down and flung into a skip. This is one of the reasons why Christmas is so special, it’s like a bunch of days decided to say “Fuck this shit” and just quit the calendar, “We’re going to eat and drink and we’re not going to stop til this disastrous year is over,” It says. And everybody agrees.
At about 6pm the kids will start to look to the skies for any kind of sign of Santa Claus. “He’s still in Australia”, someone will say. And then the illusion will be ruined when one of the kids hears him on WLR. Depending on what part of Waterford you’re in, you’ll probably be thrown out of the pub soon. The closer you are to the Garda Station the sooner the pub will close…so if you’re out in Kilmeaden or somewhere like that there’s a good chance you’ll still be drinking when Rudolf and his buddies pass by later on.
And now you’re back home. “Jaysus we should have set the heating to come on…it’s feckin freezing!”. You put the new pyjamas on the kids, leave the milk and cookies out for Santy, the carrots for the Reindeer and cart the kids off to bed. You sit down, feeling very tired and very tipsy and thank God that you final have a break from it all. “It’s nice to final be able to sit down,” you’ll say to yourself. And you will deserve the rest. The house is looking like a winter wonderland, there’s a big-ass ham in a pot in the kitchen, there’s enough food to last til August and all the presents are wrapped under the tree. That is of course, all the presents but the ones from Santa, which have been up in the attic for the last few weeks. Getting stuff down from the attic is a traumatic experience at the best of times, but doing it while inebriated and trying to not wake up the kids is a whole other things altogether. I know of a fella who, after about eight pints, climbed up into the attic, forgot the golden rule of only stepping on the wooden beams, fell through the ceiling and landed on his seven-year old daughter. The poor girl thought she was being attacked by Santa (the fool was still wearing his Santa Christmas jumper).
If, by some Christmas miracle, you manage to successfully retrieve the presents, you’ll then be overjoyed to realise that the bike, and the scooter, and the play desk still have to be put together. I can barely use the remote control when I’m drunk so how in the hell am I expected to attach screw A4 to Divet F. Inevitably after about two hours, you will realise that you assembled the handlebars back to front and the whole process will have to be done again. And then, about 20 minutes after you finally get to bed, the kids will be jumping on you declaring that it’s time to go down to see what Santa has brought!” In reality, Santa has brought a pretty debilitating hangover on himself and Christmas is beginning to lose some of its magic. That is of course until the kids open the sitting room door and their faces turn to pure, unadulterated happiness. This is Christmas, summed up in one very brief moment. Ten minutes later the room is covered in wrapping paper and dangerous plastic packaging. “When is the recycling bin out next?…”
And so it’s Christmas day. There are a couple of kids out cycling on the street, but most of them are on their iPads and Xboxes, which you will now have to tear them away from with the frightening news that it’s Mass time. The lighting of the last Advent Candle…the singing of the Christmas Carols and the placing of the Baby Jesus in the manger…sure isn’t it only beautiful. It’s a pity then that all the kids can think about is their presents and the parents, the turkey in the oven and how they’re going to find a shop open so they can buy some cranberry sauce.
I’m not sure what’s on the telly these days on Christmas Day. I can remember some years ago, when the mother was busy making the table like something out of Buckingham Palace, we’d all be watching Top of the Pops to see what was going to be Christmas Number One. “What is it?!” Mam would should in from the kitchen. “Mr Blobby!” a voice from the sitting room would retort. “Ah jaysus…” Nowadays nobody cares who’s Christmas Number One and I think we all know why.
It’s great to think that between 2pm and 3pm, almost every family in Waterford are sitting down as a family and eating Christmas Dinner. And it’s funny to think that almost 50% of those families will only think of lighting the candle on the centrepiece when the dinner is over. 70% of Waterford families will then pull the crackers, tell awful jokes and find at least one beer opener and one deck of mini playing cards in the crackers. A surprising 40% of Waterford people will announce that they are too full for dessert and a staggering 90% of families will contain a father that will announce “That’s it for another year now”…
The rest of the day will be spent on the couch, watching the worst telly imaginable and occasionally dipping your hand into a box of Roses. A worrying 39% of Waterford families will play board games and engage in family fun. The other 61% will be watching the Christmas extended edition of Eastenders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale Farm, where they have been holding on to a story for the last 6 months in order to depress families everywhere on Christmas Day. Let’s put an end to Christmas Soaps and embrace the Hungry Hungry Hippos!