Wednesday 27 December 2023

Christmas Again

Picture shows a typical dining table scene from previous years.

Alcohol and pyrotechnics

 As this is my private blog, and my husband will never see it, I share here my thoughts on our 45th Christmas since we became a couple.

We spent the day with our elder daughter. She cooked a roast chicken, (no turkey, stuffing, bread sauce, cranberry sauce, sprouts or stewed apple, all of which used to accompany the main course in our Yorkshire dominated household from days gone by).

I have never liked turkey, in fact I grew to loath it over the years. We did give up with the stewed apple quite early on, it was a relic of hub's grandmother, and the bread sauce was eased out too over the years. To be replaced, unfortunately, with celeriac and mashed potato mix (with garlic infused milk).

This year, at our daughter's, no alcohol was served at all with the meal or at any other time of the day.  Our daughter did not serve a Christmas pudding, or any other pudding other than one chocolate each after the meal.

This was the happiest Christmas I can ever remember in all my 70 years.

No one sulked in the afternoon, no one upset anyone else, and there were no arguments about anything.

I have put up with my husband's total domination of Christmas for the last 38 years.  First we had to go to his mother's, until his grandmother died, at 96.  Then his parents and sister came to us for the next 33 years. After his mother died, at 97, we stopped hosting and have spent the last two years at our daughters'. Our younger daughter hosted last year and did a roast ham buffet (well done, don't be a slave to tradition, I said). This year our elder hosted but not the whole family party of nine or ten adults, just husband and me.  

Again, a wonderful refreshing break with the obsessive tradition that EVERYONE must all be crammed in together for the 25th of December. Which, as I said, I put up with for 38 years, 33 of them hosting at our house. 

I was never asked, what would you like to do this year, it's your turn to choose. When his parents etc came, they always came for a full week, until I put my foot down and said they had to go after three days.  Every year we had an argument about whether they could stay for three days or four.

Alcohol was served every day with the main meal, which after a very long time (too long) I realised was making me feel tired, irritable and bad-tempered.  

On the big day itself, my husband always insisted on serving champagne at the start, on empty stomachs, and then opening a second bottle at the table as well as serving wine. There were arguments every year about the second bottle of champagne.

Every year, my husband made a huge performance of getting the camping gas stove out of the garage to heat brandy at the table and pour it over the Christmas pudding then setting fire to it. Everyone dutifully oohed and aahed and clapped.  He thought this was the star piece of the whole show.

This year he was prevented from showing off in this way because there was no Christmas pudding in our daughter's house. (Had there been one, he would have tried to get his own way, even just heating the brandy up in a saucepan on the hob).

Oh my god, how has our marriage lasted this long.  No wonder the solicitors' offices are full of people seeking a divorce in January.

Wonderful daughters, doing it their way (our younger just decided they wanted to have Christmas day in their own home this year, and would not be travelling anywhere).

Thank you God, for this lovely Christmas.


  1. Merry Xmas to you Sens. My bestie in NZ is going through similar stuff with her husband of 40 years. In fact, when she messaged me yesterday she called him her 'ex-husband', such is their living situation. They have daughters and grandchildren there so coming back for her is a non-starter. She says she'll just have to learn to live with it. I say life's not long enough to live half of it in a miserable state. I hope that you cantons find some contentment in the coming New Year. My eldest lad has to go to his mother-in-law 's house every year. This is the 9th year in a row I haven't celebrated with my eldest. I had my younger son and his family which was lovely but they left after 2 and behalf hours to go to my daughter-in-law's sister's for the evening 'do' which were attended by her parents also. Your in-laws were very very lucky to have you got a daughter-in-law. (Ps it took me 3hours to clear up after dinner!).

  2. Thank you so much for your empathetic sharing. I feel for your bestie in NZ. I think for the time being grandchildren are a sufficient tie to stick together, at least until they are over ten, which I understand is when they are not so keen on their grandparents.

    I see that your two sons are also dominated by in-laws' demands. This, while not great for anyone, makes me feel that I am not alone.

    Thank you also for noting that my in-laws were very very lucky to have me for a daughter-in-law. You could say that, or you could say that I just wasn't strong enough to stand up to hub and his mother's combined Yorkshire grit (truly of the millstone variety, they would grind anyone down, and I have seen this in action many times). Masterclass in insisting on having their own way. (His dad was dominated likewise, and died, probably having given up, twenty years before his mum, who, now having her own way without arguments, carried on happily for another twenty years).

    I keep on encouraging our daughters to do things their way and not be stultified by traditions.

    1. PS, that's pretty sickening that you had company for 2.5 hours and then spent 3 hours clearing up. We always had to do the washing up when we went to my in-laws house. It took all afternoon, as they didn't have a dishwasher.

    2. I'm not hosting again, I've decided. My dishwasher's broken at moment, hence a longer time to clear up! And now I've been struck down with some lurgy or other but nobody wants to come near because they're all going away for New Year and don't want to risk catching something!

    3. So sorry to hear that you have a lurgy, hope you feel better soon. This is the time to pamper yourself, stay warm and cosy, and treat yourself. I think it is a wise decision not to host. It seems that you are not sufficiently appreciated. Have a good New Year, and all the best for 2024.