Friday, December 16, 2011

A Christmas Carol

Blimey, it's 51 Christmas' now, since Santa dragged me down the chimney, all covered in soot.

The folks claimed I was a huge surprise (yes, huge - I recall no mention of wonderful, wanted or beautiful in this conversation..). Like the ever increasingly bizarre knitwear my dear old gran loved to sic on us, seems Santa received a job-lot of babies in his cabbage patch that year. This sounded reasonably plausible to me. It certainly explained away those spells I often spent, bundled away at the back of the closet, along with those aforementioned sweaters from our gran. (Och no, dry your eyes, I'm only joking, we didn't own a closet, it was a coal bunker, and I went in voluntarily, much to my Ma's increasing consternation.. but I digress, my early taste for coal has little to do with this post.)

So yeah, Santa. 

I swallowed that story whole. 

Can you imagine the trauma caused when a couple of my so-called "mates" decided to break it to me Santa doesn't exist?

Proper upsetting it was.

Big sis' soon made them take it all back again, but by then the seeds of niggling doubt had sprouted. Too late to feed me the stork story, yet far too early to spell out the gritty truth, I was left to work it out on my own.

It wasn't so bad, favouring the adoption angle, I realised I'm actually a princess. At least now I had a kingdom to inherit, and the gleeful prospect of eventually lording it over the Sib's.

Delusions of grandeur provides certain comforts.

I adjusted.

The actual circumstances surrounding my birth were rather less romantic. Half a week well over-due, and a home-birth, it took a whole two days to persuade me from the womb, and even then it required the help of a set of forceps to drag me out. Maybe I sensed being born in to the thirteenth apartment on the block hardly heralded an auspicious start?

They had to send out for the Doc in the end. Rumour has it he was carving his roast at the time, and refused to budge until the last of the meal was through, so it fell to Carol (yeah, you read that right - Carol) the midwife, to mainly hold the fort until his almost too late arrival.

Da said I arrived looking like an angry old man, all red, wrinkled, and with this huge, pointy bald head. Ma told me straight up, Christmas turkey never quite tasted the same after that. I can't say as I blame her, she being only 4ft 10in, and with me weighing in at a hefty 10lb 10oz, it's little wonder she woke up in a cold sweat every Christmas thereafter. A full ten years on it took her, to brace herself to muster enough courage to complete our family.

Family legend has it that Neil Sedaka was belting out "Oh, Carol" on the radio, as my mother did likewise, but for different reason. Okay, I grudgingly admit it marginally beats being called Noel, but I still think my mother showed a stunning lack of imagination.

Still, that proved the least of my problems.

See, it's all fine and well to have a Christmas birthday, yes, granted, you are always guaranteed the day off school, and there is usually some bit of a party to be found - but even taking all that into count, it hardly takes the brain of Britain to fathom you sure could choose a better day to arrive in to the world.

Forgive me for being crass here, but what kind of a kid wants to share their big day being upstaged by someone ELSE'S birthday? Especially since half of it tends to be spent singing THEIR praises, sitting on a cold, hard pew, and in some old, draughty church?

And here's another thing - grown-ups are such fibbers, aren't they? "Oh, here, wee Carol, happy birthday! We've bought you a bigger present than the others, seeing as how it's your birthday and all.."

What a complete load of total and utter bollocks. Some people can make their mouths say just about anything!

Judging from what I found wrapped, thank God it actually was my birthday, otherwise I probably might've only been qualified to receive a wee lump of empty tin foil from under the tree!

And whilst we're on that subject, what is it with these cheapskates who think it's all right to scrawl "Happy Birthday" in my Christmas card? (No, it's okay, don't apologise, I'm over it now. Even though I do still know who each and every one you miserable sods are.)

Mind, if I thought I'd had it bad before, I soon reassessed once my own little brood happened by. Up until then, at least I could count on waking up to a cuppa' tea in bed. Having birthed four of our little darlings within the space of six years, can you imagine the Christmas/birthday mornings I spent when they were younger?

The cavalry charge started around 5am, and forget the "Happy Birthday's", I counted myself lucky to so much as escape for the luxury of a pee, before the morning ran through.

Every spare minute was turned over to slavishly consoling the kids, whilst loudly yelling at hubby to get a swift move on constructing that stupid pirate ship, why can't he? (Still having a dolls house, a monster garage set, and a full model kitchen in the queue to build, who needs a perfectionist? It's not as though they wouldn't all be bust by Boxing day anyway, is it?)

And what the hell is wrong with all these toy manufacturers, nowadays? Back in my time, when you bought a dolls house, you bought it expecting the picture on front to match up with the contents inside of that self-same bloomin' box. When you trustingly carted it home, you never expected some twenty-billion miniature bricks, a squeezee tube of glue, and a warning not to inhale until New Years Day, to spill out on to your lap, did you?

Nowadays, parenting classes should include a degree in construction, coupled with an option to take the, "How to get your money back from those no-good, thieving b*****d's who first saw you and your kids coming from a whole several miles down the road" course. I can't be the only one who doesn't read Chinese.

Now, just when the cherubs have grown big enough to turn their demands away from the more demanding, time-consuming of toys, to the more bankrupting and materialistic kind of gift, we find we have moved across to join my lil sis' and her family, over here on Craggy Island.

Woo-hoo, now we can have a PROPER FAMILY Christmas, all sitting together to pull a cracker over the communal turkey! Bliss, eh? Well, it would be if my lot weren't such utter carnivores, and my sister and her brood weren't all committed vegetarians.

Seeing as how my little sis' can't cook to save her life, I opt to host this jolly event, but since my lot steadfastly refuse to give up their roasted seasonal carcass, not for anyone - it involves us seated around two separate tables, and with two very different and individual menus a-piece.

It's sooooooooo hard to be a birthday girl whilst splattered in gravy, and with twenty pans all a-juggling.

What? Celebrate it on another day? Are you nuts? Don't be ridiculous, I love playing the martyr, besides, it wouldn't be my BIRTHDAY then, would it?

But we have reached a small, little compromise here. We all sit down to eat our traditional festive meal on the eve of Christmas now, it's far less fuss all round and everyone seems to be happy.

You see, it's a seriously bloomin' hard job being a Diva, I simply thank goodness my family appear to appreciate it.

(Wide beam to camera, slow curtsy, and quick exit.)

Okay, I'm a low-down sneaky cheat, we all know the only new part to this post is the up-date I made to my age.  But hey, will ya' cut me some slack here?  It's my birthday Christmas almost, I can't be hanging around in here inventing fresh new posts, there's s too much stuff to stuff, and people to do.. ya' know?

Okay, now I'm feeling guilty (insert deep, heartfelt sigh).  Tell you what, next post I'll bring you up to date on all the Cassa Shrinky gossip - the eldest is back from Uni, he's in a house share with a guy whose mother manages The Rolling Stones - watch this space, I'll happily dish up all the dirt to you, okay?  Soon. 


Furtheron said...

the daughter of my god-parents (does that make her my god-sister?) was born on Christmas Day.

She hated it as a kid - only one present from most people where her siblings got two in the year, never a party just with her friends for her birthday - although I do remember when we were about 11 (we're roughly the same age) my brother and I were taken round there on Christmas Day and in the dining room at least it was Linda's birthday, no sign of Christmas... save some turkey in the sandwiches and mince pies maybe.

Rock Chef said...

What is it with vegitarians and vegans who can't cook? That stuff REQUIRES an ability to create anything vaguely edible...

We used to cheat with toys that needed assembling - I would make them a week or so in advance and wrap the finished item.

You should send me your address so next year I can stribble "Happy Christmas" inside a birthday card!

TexWisGirl said...

well, happy almost birthday happy Christmas to you!

Leslie: said...

I remember this post, but it's okay as it was fun to read again. My sister's b'day is the 29th and she always complained she only got turkey casserole and leftover plum pudding for her b'day dinner. And like you, no parties. A friend's b'day is the 27th, so lately we've been making a date of it and going out to either lunch or dinner. She really appreciates it. And my grandson was born on January 1...I can just imagine the er fun he'll get up to when he's a bit older!

Akelamalu said...

I had a friend who was born on Christmas Day and always felt sorry for her because she always got birthday/Christmas presents combined from cheapskate relatives. :(

Suldog said...

I loved this rant the first time I read it. And I love it now, too. I also love YOU, but you already knew that. So, Merry Happy Birthmas to you, and if it's any consolation, I will be doing nothing BUT re-runs from now until the new year, so you're hardly alone.

Bijoux said...

Happy Birthday, Shrinky!!!! My son's birthday often falls on Thanksgiving, so I make sure to always make a birthday cake, right next to the pumpkin pie.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

I've got a ho bunch of birthdays I'll gladly give away!

In july too!!!

mythopolis said...

This post is an epiphany. I knew there was a reason for my irrational love for you. You are the female Jesus returning to earth after a sex change. Is there really going to be a rapture? Should I bring condoms? Or at least a casserole? Ok, I just want to know this one thing before I die. How funky can I get? Is there a limit to my brain? Can you send me an omen? An amulet? Or an omelette? Just give me some kinda sign.

Love you and your whole fam and all the wonderful stories. Have a Happy Un-Christmas Birthday!!!

bill lisleman said...

First time I've read this so thanks for the re-post.
Happy Birthday

bill lisleman said...

Happy Christmas - see I'm no sod that would put both wishes in the same comment.
Any pictures of you coming out of the coal bunker? Hey better than coming out of the closet.

Ms. A said...

My Mom's birthday was on the 21st and she hated it. Always got combo gifts.

Happy Birthday!

Merry Christmas!

~Babs said...

I'll gladly re-read this same post (again) every year! By the time it rolls around again I've already dis-remembered it and love it one more time!

Merry and Happy Everything to you, Missy,,,you deserve it!


I always thought you should get twice as much if you were born on christmas.

Hilary said...

Awww I'm sure I read this before but I was happy to read it again. You have such a fun way with words. Happy almost Birthday, dear Shrinky. May it be the best one yet.

Kate said...

Hail....the Light has come!! Happy birthday, Shrinky. Hope you have a great Christmas.

Choco said...

Awww... A Very Happy Birthday almost.. not quite.. to you Shrinky :)

I had a couple of friends with birthdays on Christmas eve. And I am guilty of giving one of em a card which wished both Merry Christmas and a Happy Birthday, this one time, a long long time back. But. In my defense. The card (Beautiful front cover mind you) opened up to spill out two separate cards/sheets. With separate wishes. I though it was sweet... :| :)

Al Penwasser said...

Look on the bright side of sharing a birthday with Jesus:
Think of all the candles on HIS birthday cake.

Ricardo Miñana said...

Hello, great pleasure to go through your beautiful space, I wanted to greet you this holiday season,
Happy Holidays!
a hug.

CiCi said...

So you are going to celebrate another birthday. Cool. Just think of the alternative. At least you are able to celebrate it with your lovely and lively family.

I look forward to the gossip you are willing to share in the next post. Bring it on.

foam said...

happy almost birthday!
my mum-in-law has one of those coming up on the 22nd.
ya know you look pretty darn good for an old broad ;) (i'm a year older).
btw, i think you should throw your birthday parties in july and call them a 'christmas carol in july birthday party'.

MarkD60 said...

There are hundreds of thousands of Santas. And they're all real.
I've seen him on TV, and remember the old saying, "Cameras don't lie".

Dave said...

Oh dear Shrinky (carol?), an interesting story as usual. But what happened to the continuation of the previous one? You are keeping us in suspenders... - Dave

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Aw honey! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Your birthday is the important one, after all, YOU EXIST! :) Hope your day is appreciated and remembered and and you get at least a little pampered.

Shrinky said...

Hi Furtheron, awww, nice they made one room over for your "God-sister" (grin) to have solely dedicated to her birthday - sweet!

Ha, yup, RC, I'm with you on that one - my Ma (also a rotten cook) converted to being vegetarian in my teens - both my sisters had been meat free for years - but here's the thing - NONE of them could cook for toffee! I confess, I did become vegetarian myself for over five years, but I fell off the wagon when I became preggie and had huge cravings for meat - it was downhill all the way after that.

Cheers TexWisGirl, and I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas, too!

Hi Leslie, aww, I think that's wonderful you make a special point of going out to celebrate your friends birthday when most folk are plum partied out - that's what I call a true friend!

Ha! You get used to it, Ake..

Shrinky said...

Eeeee Jim, as there is nothing worse than unrequited love, I sure am happy to hear that! Merry Christmas to you too, you wonderful man, I hope you and yours have a great one ((x)).

Hi there Bijoux, ahhh, now that's what I call a THOUGHTFUL mum (I didn't get my first birthday cake until after I married)!

Hey FWY, you are toooooo generous by far!

Och, much as I hate to burst your bubble, Dan, I'm oft' told I'm kinda' more like Hell's reply to Jesus - but for what it's worth, irrational or not, I sure do love you, too, my friend (x).

Hahaha - oh Bill, now THAT is what I call considerate, and much appreceiated at that - thank you, bonny lad!

Cheers Ms. A, lets hope 2012 proves to be kind to all of us, eh?

Hey there Babs, I always love it when you pop around, I think you are one of my longest standing bloggie-friends! Merry Christmas dear lady, give Jack a hug from me.

Shrinky said...

You know, JackieSue, in many ways I have (wink)!

Hi Hilary, you are too kind, as ever, making me all the happier to know you. Can you believe almost another year has slipped past? Hope the coming season brings you all the joy in the world!

Hello Kate my friend, I'll drink to a merry, fun-shared holiday for all of us. Merry Christmas.

Ah Choco, you see, you had the grace to acknowledge both the separate occassions individually, so that is more than alright. BTW, thank you for guiding me through how to restore my archives, and no, you were far from nagging, but being a very good friend (smile).

Too true Al, and who wants to live THAT long, anyway, eh?

Ricardo, instead of a hug next time you stop by, I would far more appreceiate it if you take the bother to actually READ my post before leaving a copy and paste comment here..

Shrinky said...

Hi there CiCi, yes, you are so right, Christmas is all the more special to me this year, having all my family back under my roof once again. I hope you find happiness and peace over the holidays too (x).

Ha Foam, I praise God for the wonders of Photoshop (grin), and as for the birthday, well, I believe it's even worse to have it fall on either the day before (like my brother-in-law's) or the day after, don't you?

Yeah Mark, er, of course, you're right.. Santa IS real (edging away nonchantly, trying not to break into a run)!

Yikes Dave, so much for my clever distraction ploy, to escape following through on the last post, eh? (Sigh.) Okay, I'll stop messing about and get on with it - watch this space!

Hi there Veggie-Assassin, hey, I tried to leave a comment over at your site, and found it impossible - have you disabled your comments section, or is it just me? Hope you have a wonderfully silly season, with much fun and laughter, my friend.

BRUNO said...

Fifty-One, eh? A mere-child! Why, I've got zits on my ass that're older than you!

But admittedly, YOU are much, much prettier---not to mention much-more PLEASANT, to sit and visit with such.....!☺

Ami said...

I am a two-weeks-before-Christmas baby.

I have met several people who are unfortunate the way you are..
Holly, Hollie, Christine Holly, Carole, Carolle, Kerrole, and Noelle. Also a guy named Nole, Noel and one named Chris.

At least no one named Tree or Wreath or Yule.

You crack me up almost every time I read here.

Shrinky said...

My dearest Bruno, I do so love your way with words (snicker), now I'm feeling ten foot tall! (x)

Shrinky said...

OMG Ami, you've mentioned a whole plethora of worse names I might have inherited, some I've never even heard before - guess I should be grateful after all, eh?

Barbara Shallue said...

What a great story and beautiful rant!! Glad you recycled it since I missed it before. Hope you have a splendid birthday!

Joanna Jenkins said...

This is a great read, I'm glad you shared it again.

I agree, your birthday and christmas on the same day is tough-- I'm sure the b-day part always get short-changed and that's not fair. Maybe you should celebrate your "half birthday" on June 25th so you get your full day's worth-- You should be treated like a queen to make up for all the work you have to do on Christmas!

hope your birthday is fantastic and everyone takes a moment to give you an extra hug! xoxo jj

wishihadakarmaanghia said...

Have the Happiest Birthday! Hope you get treated like the queen of Divas -6 dozen white doves, a field of orchids, sushi rolled on the chests of Adonii, 101 dalmation puppies (haha!). Enjoy. And Reeellaaaxx xx

Shrinky said...

Thank you Barbara, I will! I hope you do too.

Shrinky said...

Hi JJ, ach, ignore my rants, I always adore Christmas and have a great time - I hope you and yours do, too.

Shrinky said...

Whoohooo - hey Christina, can you come over and organise all this for me, it sounds awesome..! (x)

chewy said...

Divas who write magnificently can get away with reruns. Happy Birthday Christmas to you! (yeah, I know I'm pushing it early here)

bill lisleman said...

It's not often that "considerate" and my name are found together. I found this and yours is the only Birthday I know coming up so lucky you. - enjoy
(oh I would comment on a NEW post if there was one! )

Shrinky said...

Awww Chewy-Pie, you always know how to wrap a great big smile around my heart, thank you bonny lass, I'm wishing you and yours the bestest Christmas ever, too! (X)

Shrinky said...

Bill, you crack me up, bigtime - thanks for the belly-laugh, this was too, too funny! (Still chuckling as I type..)

The Kid In The Front Row said...

merry merry merry merry christmas :D

Amish Stories said...

Shrinky i enjoy your blog very much and all of the folks in the UK as well. Id like to wish you and your readers a merry Christmas and a healthy and happy new years. And i thank you so much for being a reader of Amish Stories. Richard

sage said...

Happy birthday! You can celebrate Christmas later. Wow, you were a big baby! My wife's birthday is 4 days before Christmas and I better not think about combining presents or wrapping her birthday present in Christmas paper (I did that one year and since keep regular wrapping paper in my office closet).

Pat Tillett said...

Well then, Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas to you! Great story Shrinky! Hope your holidays are good ones.

secret agent woman said...

Are you a Christmas baby? Happy birthday/Christmas to you!

Shrinky said...

Hi Kid, and thanks, I hope yours is a good one, too!

Hello Richard, the pleasure is all mine, I find your stories fascinating, and truly enjoy the glimpse you give us into the Amish way of life. Merry Christmas!

Hey Sage, birthday gifts wrapped in Christmas paper is a near hanging offence around these parts (wink), glad you saw the error of your ways..!

They already are shaping up to be, Pat, I have all my brood under one roof again, who could wish for more? Happy Christmas, dear Pat.

Cheers Secret Agent, and the same back to you, too.

Robyn said...

Happy Birthday!!!
Merry Christmas!

and all the best wishes for the coming year x

Helena said...

I always feel a bit a sorry for people with a b'day at this time. One of Luvbug's nephews has a b'day on Xmas Eve but we always send separate cards though and mark that one as a birthday card on the envelope.

X. Dell said...

(1) As I've spent a winter's night in Scotland, a lump of coal doesn't seem like such a bad present. You need not explain your early attraction to carbon--especially since it has well documented escapism properties.

(2) If you were born on Easter, maybe your parents would have named you Bunny?

(3) My B-day is a bit after Christmas, when folks are too broke to buy any presents. Consider yourself lucky.

(4) BTW, many happy returns.

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

I've always felt sorry for people born on Christmas, because as you say, if you celebrate on another day, it's not your birthday ... but if you celebrate on Christmas/birthday day you are seriously upstaged AND cheated out of a day to yourself and special food and gifts and all.

Loved this post - such fun, but with truth leaking out in between.

'...a warning not to inhale until New Year's Day' Hahahahahahah!!

Shrinky said...

Oops, sorry, Christmas has made me lose track of time, and replies to everyone.. I value all your comments, and sincerely promise to get back to you all properly once the festive season settles down (x)!

H A R R Y G O A Z said...

Have a Wonderful New Year!

Anna said...

Shrinky, wow 51, of what I have seen you doing (in your posts) you sound very young and full of energy. Happy belated Xmasy birthday, sorry I missed you here. No worries I like repeat posts, that way I get to know you better and sometimes I miss things reading. Wishing you all the best in the new year, have a health one too, lots of love and peace. Cheers my dear friend. Anna :)

Shammickite said...

Hope you had a happy birthday.... so now it's Happy New Year to you and your family. May 2012 be full of happiness and good health. and lots more birthdays.

consuetudinis magna vis est said...

Before the sun sets in this year,before the memories fade, before the net works get jammed, wish you and your family Happy New Year!!!

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

| New |

toemail said...

Been a while...Happy New Year!

david mcmahon said...

I think Blogger just ate my comments, Shrinky!

Much love to your clan - from your biggest fan


Rock Chef said...

Hope you had a good Christmas and New Year. If you want to tell us about it.... :-)

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A Christmas Carol is a novella by English author Charles Dickens first published by Chapman & Hall on 19 December 1843.

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