I always like to do a post on Christmas Day, which I am not sure is entirely to my credit. I mean it's nice to extend Christmas wishes etc, but I suspect that I am also trying to prove to you that I am still awake and blogging (your faithful blogging don never stops, as it were). Not to mention the little brag about my trees, which I'm rather proud of glimpse above -- you can just spot Santa in a yellow New York taxi, acquired by the son last year, first prize for splendid bauble bad taste, closely followed by Santa in a stars and stripes hat).
Anyway this year we have both kids back from being away, and -- also a pleasure to say -- we have Samuel from South Sudan staying with us, and Weimo a Newnham student from China coming for Christmas dinner. And, yes, I've really got into the spirit of it: wreath on the door, mistletoe over the stairs, holly on the pudding, chestnuts on the fire (there's not a tradition that goes uninvented down our way).
That said, it can be a bit hard to decide whether the whole present routine (which, yes, I love...esp.with a glass of champagne plus smoked salmon under the glittering tree) is the final context for the expression of family affection, or the last gasp of late capitalism. Quite how much money is spent by the few on the few each December is a nasty question (notwithstanding all our virtuous donations to good causes).
This year has been more stressful than most in the present department. I made a dash to London and bought a couple of nice things at Liberty's... I then wished I had just done the lot there rather than trogging round Covent Garden (not to mention Heal's, a poor shadow of its former self) and done worse. The son (who was on the hunt for a stuffed robin ..and yes he knows the environmental/ethical issues -- to give to the eponymous father) ended up driving to the other side of Nottingham to pick one up (yes, late capitalism has its moments of singleminded effort associated with it). The truth was that the bird in Notts was less than half the price of a decidedly nastier specimen available in Islington.
The truth is though that -- however all this gets analysed in 500 years time, late capitalism or not -- it nevertheless contrives to retain its fun, and to do the bonding job it is supposed to do.
And I am just going to pick out the Kind Hearts and Coronets dvd to watch with Samuel and Weimo as a classic glimpe of British culture (that's after by rather feeble attempt yesterday to explain to Samuel the particular mode of transport adopted by Father Christmas) .. before I get down to the giblet gravy and brandy butter.
HAPPY CHRISTMAS anyone reading this.