For the last 14 years, we have spent Christmas in Connecticut. It sounds ideal – it’s the name of a classic Christmas film, for goodness’ sake – yet recently, more and more, I’ve wished to spend the festive season elsewhere.
By ‘elsewhere’ I don’t necessarily mean Olde England. Although I may be overtaken by the occasional yearning to spend a foggy afternoon in a pub while Slade and Wizzard bellow Christmas songs in the background, the feeling usually passes after two aspirin and ten minutes in a darkened room.
No; now that youngest child is healthily skeptical and I don’t have to invent elaborate fibs about how Santa Claus is going to track us down at another location, more and more I would prefer to spend Christmas somewhere — well, warmer. Much warmer. Maybe in another hemisphere, even.
But (someone is bound to say) you’re in New England! You have White Christmases!
It’s cold, certainly. But white? Not really. Of the fourteen Christmases here, only one has been properly white. While we have snow, and lots of it, the timing is always spectacularly bad. In any case, any aesthetic pleasure in snow is dimmed by the worry of whether the power lines will collapse before or after the beef comes out of the electric oven, and if it will be necessary to raid the kids’ Christmas toys for batteries for flashlights.
Speaking of my kids, they’re a traditional lot. They like Mum’s roast beef and Yorkshire puddings (the British roast turkey was shelved long ago when it became apparent that you can have turkey for Christmas or Thanksgiving, but not both) and my last suggestion of being anywhere but Smalltown, Connecticut on December 25th was met with howls of distress.
Christmas in Aruba? Barbados? Cancun? You’d think I’d suggested Christmas In The Workhouse.
I showed the kids a photo of Santa-hatted people frolicking in the waves at Bondi Beach.
“Doesn’t this look great?” I pleaded.
One of them sniffed. “Christmas is meant to be cold,” he said.
Cold outside with the central heating turned up to 75 degrees, that is.
“How about Disney World?” suggested another. “It’s supposed to be really nice at Disney at Christmas.”
OK, I can see a couple of advantages: above-frigid temperatures, and fake snow that won’t cut your electricity off. The disadvantages: too many to enumerate, but enduring a Disney Character Christmas Dinner would come top of the list and make me wish that either we or Mickey and friends were, indeed, spending Christmas In The Workhouse.
So, in the absence of family enthusiasm for an alternative location, I guess visions of sugar-plums will stay in Connecticut, while my own visions of barbecued shrimp under waving palm trees will just have to stay hold for a little longer.
I’ll keep working on it. Maybe next year.
QUESTION: Where would you spend your ideal Christmas?
STAY TUNED…for Tuesday’s Classic Displaced Writing, when Anthony discusses — who else, at this time of year? — Charles Dickens.
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