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An Unforgettable Baby's First Christmas? Probably, but for All the Wrong Reasons

Posted: 23/12/2013 16:35

I'm a big fan of Christmas. In fact I'm a big fan of any calendar event that allows me to consume my own body weight in cheese, pickled eggs, and the old-lady cocktail of choice 'the snowball'.

I'm less fond of the run up to it though.

I suspect there may be a small tear in the time-space continuum at the end of November, which means December plays out twice as quickly as it should do, with Christmas Day acting as a black hole (although Coca-Cola will probably insist on it being red) inexorably pulling us into its gravitational stronghold.

There's so bloody much to do.

Work is always twice as busy, there's parties to squeeze in, trees to be decorated, food to be bought, gift shopping to be negotiated, presents to be wrapped, cards to be written (although I never actually get round to that - but I keep a pack in the house just to remind me of my failings as a friend) and Christmas jumper competitions to be ignored.

On top of all this you're made to feel like some kind of social pariah if you've not managed to 'take in the German Markets', even though all this actually means is standing around freezing your bollocks off pretending to enjoy your £6 thimble-full of mulled wine and then leaving with a kilo of specialist salami that not even your mum's dog will go near - and your mum's dog eats its own shit.

And what's worse, this all takes place to the seemingly endless soundtrack of Lily Allen glottal-stopping her way through a Keane song like a cross-dressing Hitler on helium.

Bring back Noddy Holder, I say. Better yet, use him to reverse this Christmas advert trend of female singers prettily breathing their way through traditionally uptempo pop classics by getting him to screech his way through down-tempo indie classics. I'm thinking something like Yellow by Coldplay - but with the emphasis on the yell. It can't be any more annoying than the original, even after repeated plays.

Add a nine-month-old baby into the mix, whose sole desire in life is to use you as permanent baby walker for his first faltering steps (and who if you don't comply, will make a noise like a broken hoover being scratched down a blackboard) and suddenly the festive season starts to lose its shine.

But I can't let my child's first Christmas just pass by in this unholy whirl can I? Not if a cursory internet search of 'Baby's First Christmas' is anything to go by.

Apparently I need to make it 'unforgettable'. I should be organising festive family photo shoots. Buying him a reindeer outfit made from real reindeers. And having his first 'Christmas Day turd' immortalised in clay.

I suggest to the hubby that we should at least take him to a grotto. I've not seen him look that concerned for my mental well-being since I told him I used to sleep with a peg on my nose in a low-cost attempt at plastic surgery.

"Why?" he splutters.

"Why not?" I ask. "He'll enjoy it."

"No. He enjoys banging things together and standing up. He hates being sat down or confined to your lap. You are basically proposing we spend actual money on giving him the worst possible experience of his infant life."

It was a fair point. One I couldn't argue with. Although I did anyway. What's marriage for if not to doggedly persist in the face of overwhelming adversity?

But he's right, of course. Babies don't give two hoots what you do for them at Christmas - provided you do it with a funny look on your face, a paper hat on your head, and love in your heart (apologies to anyone who just puked up their own spinal column).

So we may not be able to post the perfect portrait on Facebook this year. Or indeed any year. But if pre-baby Christmases are anything to go by, it will still be unforgettable, albeit for the wrong reasons:

My Uncle Brian will call something by the wrong name, like the time he proudly announced he knew a lady's front bum was called "The Joiner" (he meant vagina), and we will howl until we accidentally wee ourselves.

My mom will make a melon starter and it will be like the last 30 years of culinary advancements or celebrity chef-ery never happened.

My great Uncle Harry will regale us with heart-warming stories about how he killed people during the war, and then he will have (another) stroke, but we will assume he is just drunk and not call an ambulance for at least an hour.

We will have deep philosophical debates about the relative merits of leading Irish creamy booze Baileys versus Ballycastle from Aldi.

There will be an Iceland prawn ring presented without the merest hint of irony.

But most of all we'll get to hang out. Free from work. Free from shopping. Free from the worry of where our next Terry's Chocolate Orange segment is coming from.

And it will all be good.

And if it isn't, at least we'll get a blog post out of it.

 

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