Familial Xmas Traditions

It’s 16th December and the festive feel in chez Strachan is slowly intensifying. And, to be honest, how can GJ Strachan not be flushed with yuletide esprit when greeted by the word ‘Bollocks’ from behind window 16 of a Tourettes advent calendar bequeathed by son Jonny?

Augmenting yuletide spirit further, the unmistakable redolence of spilled mulled wine, satsumas, and the newly printed Christmas Radio Times magazine emanate from the lounge! The Radio Times probably won’t get read and the satsumas will remain uneaten, but hey it’s tradition.

Wanting to maintain festive familial institutions also extending to procuring a full turkey for Christmas Day dinner. This despite the breast being the only element of the poultry consumed. I make no apologies for this waste, though, as for me 25th December wouldn’t be the same without commencing the day fishing giblets out of uncooked bird. It’s a deeply unpleasant job, but I pull through it by knowing I’ve Strachan family customs to uphold.

Another traditions which clan folklore decrees be upheld after St Nick’s visit, are the eating of a full English Breakfast. This predominantly shallow fried smorgasbord to be troughed following the turkey transition to oven in situ.

If wishing to be particularly asinine, I could also add at this juncture of the day it’s traditional to ignite the oven prior to the turkeys incarceration. However, you’ll be relieved to hear I’m not going to reach that level of descriptive granularity…… Although, I probably just did!

Not all Xmas Day customs followed me from my fledgling years into adulthood. For instance, after fleeing the nest in my early 20’s, I was robbed of the annual opportunity to surreptitiously steal segments of my brother Ian’s Terrys Chocolate Orange.

Additionally, while meandering rudderless through that part of the ageing process, yours truly was no longer in the habitual Micklemas gift of Oor Wullie or The Broons annual. These collections of cartoon strips, made famous in the Sunday Post, one of the first entries on our Ian or my boyhood Christmas list.

In early childhood, our kid and me had the irksome Christmas Day habit on kneeling on (and breaking) plastic Subbuteo footballers, from new teams we’d receive as festive trinkets. This cloddishness meaning that, while the glue set on the ‘recuperating’ players, as the Queens Speech concluded our formerly 11-a-side matches became 5-a-side contests.

This lack of players on the table board game (although we participated with pitch on the floor) meant there was extra space for the surviving ballers, meaning there was more need to cheat by dragging the plastic counter.

Consequently leading to arguments between me and my younger sibling; ordinarily resulting in us angrily throwing the undamaged players at each other. These fits of pique, around the arrival of teatime turkey sandwiches, rendering all outfield players on both sides as no longer fit for purpose.

Budding Henry Kissinger’s among you may wonder why we didn’t play the table football game on the table. A move that would’ve surely negated against kneeling on these miniature plastic team members, subsequently reducing chances of the fractious episodes which arrived later.

The answer to that inquiry being quite simply, on Christmas Day the dining table was ordinarily scattered with either food or presents for a family of five. Amongst the former our kids mysteriously diminishing Terrys Chocolate Orange and my old man’s box of Eat Me dates.

Unlike the former treat, the latter something I’d ever dream of covertly pilfering. To be honest, I don’t even recall witnessing my dad ever eating the dates. Who knows, maybe he was joining me in clandestinely sneaking Ian’s chocolate orange segments.

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