I woke up on Friday 24th December, Christmas Eve, with a bit of a sore throat and paranoia that the dreaded Corona might have got me, even though I didn’t feel unwell or have any other symptoms! Given last night’s shenanigans in the Williams’ household, it was surprising I didn’t feel a tad worse but it was almost midday! It was also the weekly weigh-in day so I stepped on the scales and found that I had put on 2kg in the last week!
I decided to do another lateral flow test, just to check before we got ready for our festivities, even though we would still be with the same people as last night but I wanted to be sure I wasn’t about to give anyone Corona for Christmas. The test was negative so that was a relief and I took a paracetamol and manned the F up! I had tea and toast for breakfast and witnessed a rare site of my Dad doing the hoovering. Ma & Pa were excited for Christmas and had started to gather everything together as we were all invited to my sister’s house. I think Dad would have set off at midday if it meant we could start the party earlier and I’m sure Mom was slightly concerned that either me or my sister would ruin Christmas with a family fall out. It seemed different this year, the pandemic had certainly impacted everyone in different ways and I’m sure we all just wanted it to be a fantastic time for us to all be together and celebrate. I was definitely looking forward to it and I had even bought a terribly ill-fitting Christmas jumper for the occasion! I spoke to Captain Caveman who had spent Christmas Eve day (he was 7 hours ahead) with Leonard and a bottle of wine at Funny Monkeys and it was nice to chat before the mayhem commenced.
For lunch we had to eat the remnants of last night’s buffet between the three of us and I do love an overload of carbs before a family celebration. I remembered my brother-in-law is very generous with his drink pours, my sister had more bottles of booze than the drink cupboard could handle and I’d heard there might be more games being played. I was up for whatever the Leesing family had planned for us and was grateful to be invited to spend the next few days with everyone. At the back of our minds there was the fear that, come boxing day, the Prime Minster, BoJo (no relation), would announce a lockdown and we’d all be fed up.
My sister, her husband and kids had gone bowling in the afternoon but we had decided not to join them for a few reasons but mainly because I’m not keen on bowling, we all had injuries, it would be full of families and we were trying to minimise Mom’s risk of catching Corona before her hip operation. We arrived at Gayle & Neil’s house around 6pm, it was cold and raining. Dad and I unloaded the very full car while Mom put stuff where it needed to be indoors. The house looked wonderfully Christmassy, I lost count of how many Christmas trees there were inside, and everyone was excited for the family festivities. Under the main tree in the living room there were already a few presents and I was conscious that the gifts I had bought would look superfluous. It had been 10 years since I had spent Christmas with my family in the UK (& 7 years since I’d even been in England during the festive period) so you can probably imagine how much I thought things had changed – there was certainly already evidence of an overabundance of consumerism in this home and I was a bit overwhelmed at how lucky we all were to be in this situation. Sumo, the dog, was keen to get the party started and had spotted a joint of ham that he was sure he could reach if he really tried, so I put the chair between him and the rather tempting ham! Neil was ready with the champagne and I felt like royalty as I was given one of the big flutes (again) to drink mine from as we all did a cheers to being together, during a pandemic, at Christmas. The buffet spread was magnificent and I almost felt guilty eating it as it was just so indulgent, even my Dad said it put my Mom’s buffet to shame and she agreed. There was a big cheeseboard, smoked salmon, prawns, pastries (including mini beef Wellingtons which were gorgeous), cured meats, as well as the ham, olives, chutneys, sauces, nuts and crisps. A new culinary invention had reached the buffet table this year and I couldn’t wait to see if it would be as popular as when garlic met bread to form the now run-of-the-mill garlic bread; chicken doughnuts – well, I never!
We drank more and I had no room for sweet stuff, except for a couple of nuts dipped in caramel chocolate which are a real winner, although I kept eyeing up the fancy ‘smash’ cake on the end of the table.
After a couple of bottles of fizz (between us!) I went on to red wine to compliment my return trips to the cheese board and then the games started. The one where you have to model a word out of plasticine was quite tricky but Mom and I were on each other’s wave length with that one, there was a true and false game which was amusing but my face hurt so much from laughing at the next two games. The most hilarious one was Dik Dik, where we had to ask our opponents (fellow family members) if they had a specific creature on their card but the names of the imaginary creatures were so inappropriately worded that we were in hysterics most of the time – surely it’s not right for a granddad to be asking his granddaughter if she has a Giant Beaver!? My Mom had a favourite game which definitely defied the sensibilities of the Corona virus transmission by playing ‘name that tune’ on a kazoo – unbelievably addictive, competitive and just priceless! By the time we had passed in to Christmas Day I was on the whiskey, Dad had broken a glass and was shit-faced, Neil was hoovering up glass and Sumo was banished to the garden so he didn’t get glass in his paws – it was mayhem! Mom pumped up the blow up bed for me, I helped Morgan get the almost dry bedding back on for Ma & Pa to have her bed, then coerced April to tidy her room enough to fit Morgan in with her. After helping my sister bring down even more presents from Santa to put under the tree it was finally bed time, after just one last nightcap for everyone!

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