Thursday, December 03, 2009

Christmas mysteries

Here we go again. It's December. For a brief moment the sky clears, the temperature drops and the frost does whatever frost does. Frosts, probably.

Give it a day or two and we'll be back to torrential unquenchable rain, but in the meantime we are, at last, officially allowed to start talking about Christmas.

Christmas, of course, is a time of mystery and wonderment. And the mysteries start right now.

Mystery number one: how can the unique and fragile Christmas decorations Mrs D has brought back from Poland have made it safely through baggage handling at Heathrow but still look too vulnerable to hang on the tree?

Mystery number two: by what hitherto undiscovered osmotic process have the boxes containing last year's decorations, fairy lights, festive CDs and other assorted baubles managed to migrate to the far end of the loft behind a whole load of other boxes that you know for a fact haven't been touched since October 2007?

Have the mice been on a Charles Atlas course or something?

Getting the boxes out of the loft is a bit like one of those puzzles where you have to slide blocks around a grid in the hope of releasing a single block. The sort of puzzle you get given as a Christmas present, fiddle with once and then chuck at the cat in sheer frustration.

If you're having trouble picturing it, just imagine Sainsbury's car park on a Saturday afternoon. Plus you're scrabbling around on your knees, in half darkness, with a musclebound mouse polishing its fangs somewhere close. Welcome to your winter wonderland.

Mystery number three: how many Advent calendars does a normal family need? At the last count, our place can boast six in all: three common-or-garden ones with kitschy pictures behind cardboard flaps; two of the chocolate variety to be consumed after breakfast BEFORE YOU BRUSH YOUR TEETH; and one allegedly traditional candle marked off with a 25-day countdown.

If you ever need reminding about how few days you have left to panic about how unprepared you are for Christmas, then Dixon Towers is the place to be.

Mystery number five: how many times will you be able to stand playing through Now That's What I Call Christmas before it goes back in the loft? Even if you're allowed to skip A Spaceman Came Travelling and Kylie Minogue's toe-curling remake of Santa Baby?

Mystery number six: the same goes double for such festive delights as Carols from King's, The Messiah on Ice and Miriam Margolyes Tells The Story Of The Snowman.

(Incidentally, some of these are not real CDs. And anyone still nursing lingering fantasies about the Cadbury's Caramel bunny should be aware that she was voiced by the aforementioned Ms Margolyes, who was also the puritan in Blackadder II. Just thought you'd like to know.)

Mystery number seven: what's Miriam Margolyes got to do with Christmas? And what happened to mystery number four?

Mystery number eight (which for some reason ended up as a second mystery number seven in The Bath Chronicle): who comes to your staff Christmas lunch when you're a department of one?

Anyway, that's quite enough mysteries for one Christmas, and the wonderment will have to wait for a different week. Preferably some time in April, after the dust has settled.

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