Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Not So Merry Ding Dongs

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Not So Merry Ding Dongs

Article excerpt

"Do you think we should watch Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz or take a stroll through the park to see the children fall off their new bicycles?" It is Christmas Day and my wife and I are chatting over a leisurely breakfast. At least I'm chatting. "Is something wrong, dear?" I ask.

"Christmas mornings aren't what they used to be," she says, sighing.

"It's because our children have grown up and moved on," I reply. I pause to spread a thick layer of diabetic-friendly marmalade on to my toast. "Do you remember the good old days when they bounced up and down on our bed at four in the morning in celebration of the fact that Santa had been? Do you recall how it felt to be knee deep in wrapping paper two hours before dawn? Do you recollect how we used to fall asleep shortly after Christmas lunch and not wake up until Boxing Day?"

"I remember you falling asleep after Christmas lunch and not waking up until Boxing Day," my wife says. There is an edge to her voice that suggests the season of goodwill to all men might be a little less inclusive this year. I wonder if it's because my interpretation of what constitutes a token gift turned out to be different from hers. The Alfie Boe CD I got for her from an online retailer looks a tad miserly next to the hand-picked Jasper Conran sweater she bought for me.

To maintain festive harmony, I decide this is not the best time to remind her of how we had agreed to be restrained when buying each other presents this year. We had been shocked to learn that personal debt was likely to soar in the New Year with the average UK family spending Pounds 868 on Christmas. …

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