PAT McDERMOTT: all I don’t want for Christ­mas

Not all tra­di­tions are worth keep­ing at Christ­mas.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS - PAT MCDERMOTT With

The MOTH (The Man of the House) loves the age-old tra­di­tions of a fam­ily Christ­mas. There’s “hunt the corkscrew”, “pass the port”, “the baby’s eat­ing the tin­sel again”, and his favourite, “I am not asleep, I’m rest­ing my eyes.”

But there’s no tra­di­tion The MOTH likes bet­ter than “fir­ing up” the bar­be­cue on Christ­mas morn­ing. He in­sists we all need what his late mother used to call “a proper cooked break­fast” to start the day. The kids think he’s do­ing what his late fa­ther used to call, “lin­ing the stom­ach”.

First he checks sup­plies: eggs (three dozen), streaky ba­con (two ki­los), sausages (four ki­los), tomato sauce (two bot­tles), Worces­ter­shire sauce (one bot­tle), mus­tard (Hot English – one jar), bread (heaps), but­ter (a kilo) and pa­per nap­kins (2000).

Our an­cient gas bar­be­cue sits in the gar­den, away from over­hang­ing trees, neigh­bours and smoke alarms. The MOTH lights it the old-fash­ioned way.

1. Make sure ev­ery­one is safely in the house with doors closed.

2. Turn on the gas.

3. Wan­der about look­ing for a match. 4. Strike the match and throw to­wards the hiss­ing sound.

5. Trot to the other side of the gar­den.

6. When you hear “WHHUUMMP” and see flames, join the crowd cheer­ing from in­side.

7. Ac­cept con­grat­u­la­tions and a beer. I know it’s 8.30am, but it is Christ­mas.

8. Prom­ise to buy a new bar­be­cue in the Jan­uary sales.

How­ever, there are some Christ­mas tra­di­tions I could do with­out so

I’ve de­cided to take my con­cerns to the top.

“Santa – it’s me, Pat.

“Pat McDermott. From Sydney. “Sydney, Aus­tralia.

“Re­ally? I had no idea there were so many of us. I won­der who the fel­low in Hanoi is?

“Santa, I’m very sorry to ring at such a busy time but my emails and texts bounce back so I de­cided to pick up the phone. Yes, I’ll keep it short. “Please don’t bring me:

l Any­thing that says ‘some as­sem­bly re­quired’.

l Tick­ets for any hol­i­day that in­cludes ‘gourmet’ cook­ing classes. I’ve raised five kids, Santa, and I’m still mar­ried to the same man. I put this down to dish­ing up spaghetti bolog­naise three nights a week.

l Fruit cake. Did you know there is only one fruit cake in the en­tire world? Peo­ple just keep send­ing it to each other.

l A gift cer­tifi­cate for a spa visit.

I hate the spooky mu­sic, the goopy creams and peo­ple sneak­ing up on me with hot wax and tweez­ers.

Also, I re­ally can’t re­lax un­less I’m fully clothed.

l Good ad­vice. There’s so much float­ing around these days and I just re­cy­cle mine. As our chil­dren left home I told each of them the same four things: swim be­tween the flags, cross at the lights, never marry for money, and reach round the back of the yo­ghurt dis­play if you want one with a long ‘use by’ date.”

Ruff Red once said our house at Christ­mas was a cross be­tween Santa’s work­shop (ar­gu­ments, twin­kling lights, over­sized tree) and the Beth­le­hem sta­ble (a lot of di­shev­elled strangers hang­ing about eat­ing, drink­ing and singing.)

“You see Santa, I have so much, I couldn’t pos­si­bly ask you for any­thing more.”

Merry Christ­mas from the McDer­motts.

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