There are many things about the festive period that are bigger, super-sized and larger than life – but enough about my waistline. We seem to think that there need to be big presents, huge plates of food and everything should be longer and more in it and usually I find the theory is wrong. If something works well at its regular size, shape or length why do we insist on more just because it’s Christmas?
Food is the best and easiest example for all those who, like us, have enjoy the second day’s worth of Christmas dinner (BTW why does it always taste better on Boxing Day?) You look at the left overs and you wonder how on earth you expected even half of the volume to disappear on the 25th. Yes you want the leftovers but there seems to be almost as much on days two and three as there ever was and inevitably a lot of decent food gets thrown out just because it’s been in the fridge too long and we’re scared of bugs and food poisoning. Then there are the chocolates – I love a choccy as much as the next person (even if the next person is Dawn French) but we end up with dozens of sweets each year. I’ll grant you that hardly any of them are mine or Jill’s, instead they belong to the munchkins of the house but there’s a huge flaw in what they get. It’s not that we aren’t grateful but have you ever stopped to examine the contents of the average kid’s selection box – the total price for the individual contents seems to be at least doubled just because it’s Christmas. Freddos, Chomps and Curlywurlys are never £3 a pop!
Then there’s the TV. Last night we sat and watched BBC1 mostly with Strictly, Call the Midwife and Doctor Who. They were all padded out with extra that really wasn’t needed. Strictly is always fun but they could have had another couple of celebs on for all the nonsense that they filled time with. I’m not a regular viewer of Call the midwife, but it was good to see Laura Main take centre stage in last night’s episode. I remember when she was just young thing in Student Show at the same time I did it. A nice quine and it’s great to see her giving such an understated performance. But for the episode to last for 75 minutes and so little dramatic to happen was stretching it out – with more pace it would have been a good combination of stories with the unexploded bomb, polio panics and Laura’s character’s crisis of conscience. In the end it was too long. Same with Doctor Who the lack of pace made it really flabby in the middle and needed a kick up the TARDIS console to get going. Just throwing more baddies in didn’t make it better – mind you the last 10 minutes were really good.
Presents are guilty of the bigger/better curse too as I can see from my kids. It’s the simple, basic cheaper gifts that last the course with them not the expensive all singing all dancing ones that they have played with today. With the exception of Jenna’s DS the focus has been on Lego and an electric train today and Jenna has played mostly with her pink sparkly ball. All those gifts are welcome and gratefully received by both the kids and us but less is more really and if they only had a couple of thing they’d still be happy. One really good present is always better than a dozen smaller ones I think but then the families want to spoil them and regardless what I say or point out it’ll always happen that way.
The other thing that is bigger and louder and more problematic is the attitude and bad behaviour of he kids. Being hyper and tired is a difficult combination for them to work through with all the attention, gifts, time with family and everything that is going on they really start to struggle by the end of Boxing Day. That’s why I’m through in my office blogging away from the fireworks next door…