Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Ultimate Christmas Meme

Technically I haven't been tagged for this, but I enjoyed reading contributions from Menai and Kate so thought I'd barge on in!

The Christmas song I can even listen to in June is…
Gaudete, a 16th century Christmas Carol. There's a pretty good choral recording here, but I can't find a decent recording of the brass band arrangement by Kevin Norbury (which I really love).

Hot chocolate, egg nog or mulled wine?
Mulled wine as long as it doesn't have cloves in it. Hot chocolate is nice, especially with a slug of whisky, but not malted. Ovaltine is horrible. Never tried egg nog but it sounds disgusting.

When do you put your decorations up?
Late. We usually get to the weekend before and realise we're running out of time. This year we did it on the first weekend in December because we thought Baby Badger would get excited - if nothing else she enjoyed pinging the baubles!

What are you having for Christmas dinner?
I'm answering this in hindsight as a) I'm writing this after Christmas and b) I wouldn't have known as I wasn't doing the cooking (hurrah). We had turkey stuffed with a [insert bird name] stuffed with a [insert another bird name] with roast veg, honey glazed carrots, sprouts, port and cranberry sauce and bread sauce, followed by Christmas pudding and mince pies with brandy butter and brandy cream. I didn't, of course, eat the bread sauce because it's pointless - why add tasteless baby food to something already rather lovely?

What’s your favourite Christmas tradition?
Playing carols with the local brass band on the village green on Christmas Eve whilst Father Christmas gives out presents to the children. We even have carols sheets for anyone that wants to sing along (we usually get a good 30-40 in varying states of tipsy-ness).

Have you ever gone carol singing?
I think I did once, a long time ago. More recently I've played carols as part of a brass group, with and without singers. The best one was playing sat on hay bales on a trailer being pulled round a local village by a Landrover - very amusing and as a bonus we were fed and watered on the way round!

When did you discover the truth about Santa?
I'm not sure. I think I must have blocked out the trauma.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Multi-coloured LED lights, hopefully in a subtle twinkling configuration but they seem to come on in random chase mode. Assorted shiny baubles. Decorations from various travels and memories: glow in the dark plastic snowflakes and icicles from my childhood; corndolly baubles from our honeymoon in Germany; enamelled baubles from a factory we visited in North Korea.

All I want for Christmas is…
Honestly? Some sleep, an opportunity to relax and a whole bunch of forgotten annual leave so that I don't have to go back to work until at least February. Given that the latter is pretty unlikely, I'll settle for two of these.

Image: Michal Marcol /

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Would you let your daughter have this?

Baby Badger was thoroughly spoiled this Christmas, not only in terms of attention being the other only little person, but also in terms of presents. Clothes & puzzles galore (as requested by us), duplo and balls (hours if not weeks and months of fun ahead), books (always welcome), and rather randomly a bubblegum-pink fake leather rocking armchair with matching footstool (huh?).

A few of the presents are not entirely appropriate. Some puzzles are for a slightly older child, but that's fine as we can bring them out when she's ready. A few of the toys don't fill us with confidence that the kite mark is entirely genuine (local market type stuff), but I'm guessing that a bit of poking and shaking from us will prove their toddler-resilience. There's one toy that is entirely inappropriate in my eyes...

Where do I start? The blow-up doll lips? The silver platform sandals (with matching knickers)? The tarty outfit? The sculptured full breasts under the wraparound top?

Am I being a prude? I don't think so. I honestly think that this kind of appearance should not be marketed to young girls, especially not when they are of too young an age to understand the assumptions and connotations that come bundled with it, rightly or wrongly.

What do you think?

Monday, 26 December 2011

Merry Christmas, etc.

Last night (or technically the early hours of this morning, Boxing Day) I went all Bah Humbug on Twitter...

Is it wrong/unfestive to say I've not had an amazing day?

Christmas Eve: somehow my Mother and I were roped into running the church crib service (Nativity story with carols and puppets) even though neither of us wanted to. I consoled myself that at least it wasn't a proper church service (I'm a closet agnostic, bordering on atheist: To believe or not to believe) only to find that Mum had inserted a prayer and blessing for me to read out, making me feel like a hypocrite. Add to that the stress emanating from her during our morning preparations for the service (she tends to go into meltdown when she feels overloaded) and it was not the most relaxing start to my Christmas.

Once the crib service was over, all the family came back to the Badger residence for supper (sandwiches and easy finger food), which was much more relaxing, but my evening was neatly rounded off by Baby Badger chundering a mixture of booby milk, snot and food over my shoulder and chest. Nice!

Christmas Day: Father Badger's Mum moved down to the next village about 18 months ago, which is lovely: we get on well, respect each others' space, and Baby Badger gets to grow up knowing all her grandparents. It also means that we have stopped alternating Christmas Day between families and this year was our second Christmas bringing both families together for Christmas. For Father Badger's family it's much more relaxed than in times gone by (arguments and family feuds), but my parents don't seem to settle when out of their house at Christmas. Once again, my evening was rounded off by being coated in booby milk, snot and partially digested food. Merry Christmas Mummy!

That's when I tweeted.

Boxing Day: today has at least been more relaxed. A walk around the village followed by soup, baked ham and brownies with ice cream at my parents' house. And no vomit. Hurrah!

Image: Michal Marcol /
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