It’s the Thought That Counts
Christmas is a time of traditions. Turkey, all the trimmings, Christmas pud, crackers, the Queen’s speech, mistletoe, advent calendars, novelty napkins and truly ghastly presents.
The most wonderfully horrific present I ever received was from my Grandma Alice. She was a tough old boot who used words like bullets and, for her, religion was a weapon to be wielded to bring the weak and vulnerable to their knees. Especially children.
When I was nine years old, she gave me a huge Christmas present. I mean vast. It was about the size of a small shed and had to be wheeled in on a trolley by my dad. It was wrapped in damp brown parcel paper and the edges were battered like they’d been chewed by a dog. But it was huge and I couldn’t begin to imagine what it was.
“Oh. You’re a tearer. God frowns on those,” Grandma Alice commented as I started to tackle ripping off the paper. After that, I had to painstakingly try to undo the parcel tape.
Eventually, my glorious, festive present was revealed. An almost life-sized representation of the crucifixion, replete with a suffering Christ and malevolent Roman soldiers prancing on horseback. Lovely, just what I wanted.
If it had to be a present comprising religious tut, why couldn’t it have been a nice, jolly Nativity? But Grandma Alice doesn’t think like that. If you’re having fun, then you’re definitely doing something wrong, that’s her motto – and no doubt the reason she’s been widowed three times and counting.