Christmas 2020

At 4pm on last Saturday before Christmas Tier 4 was announced for London. With nowhere to go and nothing to do, we spent the evening doing the Which Disney Character Are You Most Like? quiz for each family member.  

Daisy, our cat, was not too happy when she got Pumbaa from Lion King. She was hoping for Simba, naturally. 

Personally, I was not too thrilled with Hades from Hercules, either, but my children were quick to explain to me, that Hades is really cool, with a great sense of humour and edgy blue hair, so I am fine with it now.  

Last Sunday before Christmas. 

With nowhere to go and nothing to do, we had a family viewing of Tangled, complete with a trayful of pigs in blankets and a box of Roses. A fascinating film, which prophesied lockdown and dreams of escaping from it ten years ago. 

Monday before Christmas. 

We spent the last week emptying the fridge of everything still remotely edible to make room for Christmas. 

This morning we woke up to the photos of 4000 lorries stuck in Dover, immediately followed by news of panic buying of lettuce, broccoli and lemons. 

With the rampant new strain of Covid on the loose, I have decided to shield my husband, who has a mild underlying condition, from turkey-hungry crowds at our local orange-themed supermarket. 

Not taking any chances, the said husband also developed a well pronounced limp in his left leg today, in case I changed my mind about the marital shielding. I must congratulate him on his survival instinct, because Sainsbury’s was a killer, if you excuse a hint of Covid humour.

The only turkeys still available were size XL, boasting to feed 13-17 people each. Something sad and ironic about only the biggest birds being left on the shelves, as most families get ready for a seriously scaled down Christmas dinner. 

Goose fat. Nowhere to be found, sold out apparently. Not a single full goose either, come to think of it. I wonder what happens to all the geese when jars of their fat start adorning supermarket shelves every November. Never seen a goose in the meat section of any shop. Never seen a plucked goose anywhere in fact, apart from the one Patrick Stewart swings around on TV every year. Must be liposuction. Yuck. We move on to a morally neutral territory of festive napkins and Christmas crackers before I turn vegetarian.

Christmas Eve. 

The 24th of December is the only day in the year when I dig out my Polish culinary roots and cook a meal which requires a lot of cabbage, sauerkraut, dried mushrooms, prunes, four different types of meat and an unlikely combination of spices.   

Polish Christmas is all about the Christmas Eve dinner, Wigilia. We sit down to it, dressed to the nines, just like I remember from my childhood. I dedicated the whole nostalgia-ridden blog post about Wigilia a couple of years ago, so I am not going to repeat myself. 

After dinner, charades with a twist. There is little point in us playing the traditional version. What usually happens is, as soon as I get up and announce, ‘film, two words’, the rest of the family shout over one another, ‘Les Mis’! before I begin to mime a single letter. If I have a second go, and show ‘film, two words’, they scream ‘Leap Year’!! before I have a chance to take a single exaggerated step across the carpet. So, this year, we decided to pick up random words from a newspaper article to act out. We also split the family into two teams. My husband and I got Covid-19, social distancing, and Exeter to mime to the rest. The first two were a doddle but Exeter posed a challenge. We started by frantically pointing our fingers at our son, but that, unsurprisingly, didn’t tease out the correct response. I then proceeded to perform a fervent Nazi salute, as well as to pretend to throw something up in the air and catch it back, whilst my husband was very convincingly imitating slicing somebody with a sword. Our combined efforts brought a suggestion of a ‘little Nazi graduate’ from our first-born, and it is quickly acquiring the status of a family Christmas classic.

For the uninitiated, our son graduated from Exeter University with a history and German degree a few years ago.     

It is now the 27th of December and we have all fallen into the blissful mellowness which comes after two days of guilt-free gluttony and alcohol abuse. The horrors of the annual New Year New Me are still a few safe days away. I am going back to the sofa in a minute, to enjoy the fullness of the moment. I invite you all to do the same.  

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