It’s 18th December and the festive ambience in my apartment intensifies apace. To be honest, though, how could GJ Strachan not be flushed with yuletide ardour after the greeting of ‘Bollocks’ from behind door 18 of my Tourettes advent calendar?
Augmenting yuletide spirit further, the unmistakable redolence of mulled wine, a bowl of satsumas, and the newly printed Christmas Radio Times magazine hang heavy in yours truly’s lounge.
The Radio Times probably won’t get read and the satsumas will remain uneaten throughout the season; but hey, this waste is a family tradition and folklore dictates this annual tardiness remains in place.
Wanting to maintain festive familial institutions further I’ve ordered a full turkey for Christmas Day’s festive smorgasbord. This despite the breast being the only element of the poultry consumed. which, in a world where people starve, some may opine as shameful waste.
Weirdly, some may say, 25th December wouldn’t seem the same without removing giblets from the uncooked bird as soon as the chrimbo pressies are unwrapped. It’s a deeply unpleasant job, but I pull through it from knowing I’ve Strachan family customs to uphold.
Another traditions which clan folklore decrees must be upheld shortly after St Nick’s visit is the eating of a full English Breakfast. This predominantly shallow fried feast to be troughed once the turkey is prepped and 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 have actually just failed that aim.
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 life juncture I no longer received gifts of Oor Wullie or The Broons annuals. These cartoon strip yarns, made famous in the Sunday Post and revealing escapades of two Scottish clans, ordinarily one of the first entries on our Ian or my boyhood Christmas lists.
Another habit of yuletide in childhood was our kid and my habit on kneeling on (and breaking) plastic Subbuteo players from table football teams received as festive trinkets. This cloddishness resulting in, prior to the Queens Xmas Speech conclusion, our once 11-a-side matches becoming enforced 5-a-side contests.
This lack of players consequential of knee caused collateral damage affording extra pitch space for surviving footballers, allowing Ian and I additional space in to cheat by dragging the plastic counters ball wards.
This chicanery leading to heated arguments between me and my younger sibling. Disagreements resulting in angrily throwing the undamaged players at each other. These fits of pique, generally as teatime turkey sandwiches were served, rendering all the remaining players on both sides no longer fit for purpose.
You may wonder why we didn’t play the table football game on the actual table. A move which would’ve negated against kneeling on these miniature plastic team members, subsequently reducing chances of the fractious episodes which arrived later.
The answer to that inquiry quite simply that on Christmas Day our dining table was ordinarily scattered with either food or a family of five’s Xmas gifts.. Amongst the latter our kids mysteriously diminishing Terrys Chocolate Orange and my old man’s box of Eat Me dates.
Unlike the choccy treat, dates something I’d never dream of covertly pilfering. To be honest, I don’t even recall witnessing my dad ever eating the dates… Perhaps he made up for this apparent indifference to dates by also pilfering Ian’s chocolate orange segments.