THIS YEAR IS GOING TO BE FUN
It’s that time of year again, when you start losing your mind, thinking giant inflatable Santas and reindeer in your front garden are cool, mince pies and fruit cake are actually quite tasty and calories don’t count until next year.
And for divorced single mums everywhere, the hand wringing about what to do with
The Ex and the kids over the Crimble season begins in earnest.
Finally, after two tense, decidedly joy-free Christmases, The Ex and I seem to have silently acknowledged that it’s all about the kids, really, and not just another chance to air long-held grievances while depleting Berkshire’s stocks of Cointreau and Baileys in the process. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…
But the first Christmas we spent as consciously uncoupled parents, we didn’t have the first clue how to play it, so we just kind of bumbled our way through it – much like our marriage, to be honest.
Considering The Ex had moved into a fabulously large flat in a gated community that felt as big as a house and we’d moved to a tiny house up the dodgier end of the village that felt as big as a skip, we decided it would be best to go to his place for the big day.
But Cookie (the one-dog demolition team) wasn’t allowed, so I had to leave him at home, chewing the baubles and candy canes off our tree – and then the tree itself.
The kids slept at The Ex’s the night before and even as I drove through the big iron gates, I caught a whiff of Competitive Christmassing and I knew this day was something to be endured rather than, say, enjoyed.
We played board games (which, of course, The Ex won), I admired how well our old enormous jumbo cord couch fit into his new front room (he enthusiastically agreed), how good our old Persian carpet looked on his new floor (he slightly less than enthusiastically agreed) and how well our old coffee table had survived his “I’ll do it myself and hire a van!” moving day (at which point he just grunted).
And then the present-giving began. I girded my loins and handed over stationery and toys for the kids that I’d got from The Range. They smiled politely. The Ex drove a fork-lift truck into the living room and deposited assorted Xbox and Nintendo goodies into their laps. They could barely contain themselves.
So this year, we’re doing away with all that competitive stuff and we’re going to meet on neutral ground at a dog-friendly pub that houses none of our old furniture, won’t let any heavy-lifting machinery through the door and does fantastic festive fare with all the trimmings.
Which reminds me of my favourite Christmas cracker joke:
What’s Good King Wenceslas’ favourite kind of pizza base?
Deep and crisp and even.
Have a great Christmas, everyone!