December 21, 2012 by hattersleysmith
Winter is by far my favourite season.
The excuse to wear layer over layer of thick tweed, Barbour and wellington boot, to drink vast quantities of hot chocolate and mulled wine, to go for long shivery walks only to return to mulch by a roaring fire and, inevitably, to steal your boyfriend’s jumpers in place of absent snuggles. Even the air is awesome; breathe in and it feels like you’ve munched through a packet of Wrigley’s Extra Strong, breathe out you’re transformed into a dragon! Feels like winning to me.
But aside from the frosty fields, Heinz Tomato soup, long woolly scarves and full freezers (for more on boys and their one-track Christmas appetites check out fivefoxes.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/on-the-annual-christmas-fridge-apocalypses/) winter, for me, has always reached its climax with TSC (I refer, of course, to The Smith Christmas).
Returning to Yorkshire from the freezer we fondly call our Durham student house and turning in to the drive around half past seven on the 14th December, Mr Weller and I were slapped in the face with a healthy smack of TSC as the house glowed florescent amidst a swirl of twinkling stars, icicles and a plethora of santas flashing up and down ladders, ski slopes and helicopters.
I often hear people bemoan how early Christmas starts, the first shop displays in later October, the love-hate early-Christmas Marmite campaign, the call from grandma wanting to know what you want for your stocking; I have no sympathy for these people. Since I can remember Christmas, for the Smiths, begins in January with the Harrogate Gift Fair, marked by the moment the parents return home with armfuls of tinsel and bauble samples for the next season’s Christmas ‘trends’ (yes, apparently this year you’re meant to have your fibre-optics upside-down covered in turquoise) in preparation for next season’s garden centre Christmas boom. Hence, TSC is really an all-year event, culminating in all its glittering glory in December with the Big Switch On.
So, diatribe over, I return to my return. We opened the door to confront the latest installment of TSC.
Enter the Smith Household to face the vibrating singing snowman, flush the downstairs loo to be screeched at from the disembodied santa head and round the corner to be bombarded by a gobbling techni-coloured turkey, a rapping chipmunk, a tweeting robin, a mounted polar bear and stripping santa baby (no really, she gets naked). Move on to a bombardment of card-jammed bookshelves, pinecones, fir and holly, knitted snowmen, santas and reindeer, snow globes, little nativities, flashing lights, wreaths, and tinsel, not to mention the chonger Christmas tree dripping with baubles and nostalgic decorations from primary school (the fold out paper collage angel will never die).
Mummy starts to bake Christmas loaf, daddy builds the fire every morning, brother and sister rush to town, buy presents and steal the wrapping paper which will no doubt reappear in stockings in a few days’ time, Santa’s Peculiar Ale, Rudolf’s carrot and mince pies are ready for the off, dogs mulch and the whole house is filled to the wonderful brim with the warm fuzzy snuggliness of TSC.
Of course, some/most people might regard TSC as tacky chaos, an unnecessary bombardment of electronics, glitter and novelty, but since I can remember the whole shebang has been an integral part of the excitement, hype and familyishness of Christmas time, a way of bringing us all together in defence of a-little-too-sparkly festivity, overeating and raised eyebrows. And it’s not even the apocalypse…
Bring on the turkey!