Well, I knew the present situation was going to be a disaster! No tree meant I had to leave them at the bottom of the kid’s beds but I thought I was relatively safe (I’d watched a couple of late movies and so didn’t venture into their rooms until about 3am). As I crept past S’s bed, carefully ensuring that there was no rustling of wrapping paper, he sat bolt upright and looked at me. “Has Father Christmas been yet, Daddy?” I froze to the spot, unable to hide the armful of presents or escape his room in time, but he just lay back down again and was fast asleep before I’d taken another step. Then, in the morning, O disappeared into the office with a handful or wrapping paper, and proceeded to carry out a detailed pen and handwriting analysis. She called me in after about 10 minutes and said “I know it’s you, Dad” and with that one sentence 11 years of fairy tales and mythology went straight down the toilet. Oh well… they went off with their Mum at around 1pm (not so bad… but I miss the old Christmases we used to have, badly), and I drove over to my Mum for a lovely Christmas dinner and an evening of crap TV and the usual banter with my brother, who drove up from Brighton for the day and then drove back down again later that night.
Our little holiday was brilliant… we arrived in Brighton on Boxing Day at around mid-day, checked into our hotel, and then went over to Bro’s house where I cooked dinner for everyone and we watched some TV and just chilled. In the evening we went back over to the hotel and sat in the bar paying Cranium (Cadoo, the kid’s version) and drinking into the early hours. Then, yesterday morning, Bro met us in the restaurant for breakfast and afterwards we went off to Brighton Pier, scene of many a landmark moment in the life of WDKY and one of my favourite places to take the children during the summer holidays each year. Mind you, it was snowing and bloody cold, although it didn’t stop us having a whale of a time.
After the pier we had some time to hang out back at the house and then we went to see King Kong, which starred one of my favourite actresses (Naomi Watts – remember her in Mullholland Drive?) and some guy who I think I saw recently in Jacket and who seems destined to become a bit of a heart-throb. Actually, I thought it was really good, and although it went on for about three hours the kids stayed awake and thoroughly enjoyed it. Bro met up with us afterwards, we went out for some dinner, and I was back home last night by ten, with the children tucked up in their own beds minutes later.
So… a good Christmas. Not perfect, but the kind of Christmas that many, many people with far less than I have would be thankful for. And, in truth that’s what I was. Thankful for what I have.