Friday, December 09, 2011

Nobody wants a traditional Christmas more than yesterday's teenagers

When your kids are teenagers it's hard to get them very interested in Christmas. They refuse to go to carol services, lie in bed until midday on Christmas morning, nursing the hangovers they've acquired the night before, announce they're starving an hour before the meal is ready and start making appetite-destroying bacon sandwiches, then sit there texting their mates to work out the earliest they can get away from the obligations to hearth and home and reunite in a ravening wolf pack. They appear to have no interest in the simple joys of togetherness and give every appearance of preferring to be with their peers.

But then they leave home and go to "uni" and work, go and live in flats and houses alongside people who often are even less scrupulous about washing up than they are, run out of money in October, endure their first bout of flu away from the consoling arms of mother and generally come face to face with the truth that they're not all that special.

At that point they start becoming very concerned that Christmas is going to be observed according to the rules. They ring home to make sure you've got a tree, find out when it's being decorated, check that nothing unusual is being ordered in the way of food and do everything in their power to make sure that everything is being done "the way we've always done". It's interesting. You only find out about "family tradition" when you depart from it unknowingly and it's generally somebody in their twenties who reminds you of it.


  1. One Christmas when I was younger I was spending it with my girlfriend at the time and her family. My sister was spending Christmas with her boyfriend and their new baby. So my parents were spending it together without guests or children for the first time ever.

    I spoke to my mum on Christmas Eve, and I can remember being horrified that they were having curry on Christmas Day. Because, so my mum told me with more than a trace of parental jealousy/bitterness, 'neither of our children can be bothered to spend Christmas with us this year I can't be bothered cooking a full Christmas Dinner.'

  2. Can't say I ever did that as a student and neither did my children.

    We just assumed, correctly, that life at home would continue in the same old way.

  3. This will be the first Christmas that the GLW and I will be spending without The Number One Son; we've been invited out on 'the' day and we've got friends coming to us on Boxing Day. So I guess the Whiskey Focus Group' will be holding an extraordinary meeting and that gifts will be opened in a more ad hoc fashion.

  4. A couple of years ago the wife and I decided that now our girls are in their 20s they should no longer have Xmas stockings. They were horrified at this flouting of the rules. It lasted one year.