moreshortstuff

Life, kids etc.

The nightmare before, during and after Christmas

Drunk Father

Another happy family at Christmas

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE BOLTON NEWS, FRIDAY 23 DECEMBER 2011
HAVE we all got some kind of collective amnesia? Here we are, just a couple of days from Christmas, parading around like it’s the happiest time of the year.
Surely we can’t all have forgotten the nightmare that was last Christmas, or the one before that, or the one before that?
So far this year, the only high point has been getting blind drunk on the night of the works’ Christmas do. But even that left me with a hangover so nasty it could have played the part of Frank Booth in the movie Blue Velvet.
The thing about Christmas is that you think it’s the nice guy and look forward to its arrival. But then it ends up running off with your wife, driving your car and living in your house, while you carry on paying the bills.
Advent calendars sum up the whole festive period quite nicely. Each new door has a lovely chocolate behind it and promises so much… except the chocolate isn’t real chocolate, it’s that cheap tasting “chocolate-flavoured candy”. Yuk.
As December 25 draws ever nearer, you get ever skinter, desperately trying to keep up with the demands Christmas places on you.
Even the lovely Christmas carols are there just to set up us to knock us down. The words to Silent Night may as well be “you can’t sing me, you tone deaf chump, so don’t bother trying to join in“. Can anybody who’s not Whitney Houston actually hit those high notes?
As for the scourge of the Christmas card
Now me, I‘m not a Christmas card sender as a rule.
It’s mainly because I hate the awkward lie you have to make up. You know the one I mean don’t you? The one where you’ve already handed out your cards to EVERYONE, then the quiet bloke in the corner at work hands you a card. So you lie: “Did I not give you yours? I must have left it in the car or something. I‘ll bring it in tomorrow.” You both know it’s a lie, you liar.
But all this pales into insignificance compared to Christmas Day itself.
Oh joy of joys – being woken at the ten past four in the morning by kids who are already bouncing off the walls because they’ve sneakily cracked open a selection box; having them crash down from the sugar high at 9am, and spend the next two hours whining about what they didn‘t get, and why they hate going to church; driving miles to see the family, feeling a bit ill from eating too much, and not being able to drink a drop because you’re driving back; having your tipsy family natter all the way through the Dr Who you’ve been looking forward to but forgot to Sky plus. Wonderful.
Me, I would much rather stay at home counting my money, like Scrooge. Except I haven’t got two pennies to rub together… because it’s bloody Christmas!
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All I want for Christmas is everything, Daddy

English: TOYS “Я” US (Toys R Us), Oxford...

I want everything in it and I want it NOW, Daddy

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE BOLTON NEWS, FRIDAY 28 OCTOBER 2011
THE clocks haven’t gone back yet – I think that means it’s technically still summer.
We’ve not even had Halloween and Bonfire Night is more than a week away.
Yet on Wednesday, the same day the Toy Retailers’ Association released its guide to this year’s 12 must have toys for Christmas, I was presented with my son’s own festive wish list.
There are more than 700 things on it and it comes to roughly £35,000 worth of toys. He is four and I am not Donald Trump, so he is likely to be disappointed on December 25.
He only started school in September so his hand writing is not the best. It looks like he got a dog to do it for him, for a biscuit.
Which means his list was not written, but comprised of things he had cut out of a catalogue from The Entertainer toy store and stuck to several sheets of card.
For all the things he wants, he may as well have just handed me the catalogue and said: “I want all of it, Daddy.”
I have no idea how he managed to get hold of the catalogue, by the way. It’s fair to say he never goes out of the house alone and struggles to wipe his own bum properly.
Actually, I’m surprised he managed to cobble a list together so quickly. It was only Monday when he snorted with derision at his Mum’s suggestion that he put together a list of the things he wanted. And that was only to stop him pointing at the telly and saying: “I want that one,” like a little version of the Little Britain character, every single time an advert for a toy came on.
“A list??!!” he said.
“Can you not just send Father Christmas a message on your phone instead?”
He is full of questions, that boy. Other recent gems include: “Do footballers like waterfalls?” the classic: “Can horses bend over?” and of course: “Whose side were the dinosaurs on in the war?”
He’s actually been compiling his Christmas list, mentally, for months now. It includes, among other things, lots of Ben 10 toys, a Transformers voice-changing helmet, Star Wars lightsaber (that makes slightly different noises to the ones he already has), Power Rangers action figures, Toy Story writing bureau, a drumming Elmo, Disney Cars walkie talkies and Winnie the Pooh pregnancy testing kit.
I think the amount of branded goods he’s asked for shows just how suggestible he is when it comes to the TV adverts.
Luckily, me and Mrs Short believe we can turn that to our advantage. Our plan is to only watch the cookery channels on Sky when the boy’s around. Our thinking is that the ads might exert their influence on his young mind and make him rethink his list. It would be really handy if he decided he wanted a nice set of non stick pans instead of all those toys. Or a blender. I’ll let you know how we get on.
*Friday night film: Twilight: Eclipse. Grrr.
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