I love Christmas - it's when I am most looking forward to spending quality time with my family. Over the last 18 years, I’ve missed a few birthdays, weddings, christenings, and significant life events because of my 'day job' in the RAF - including a deployment over Christmas in 2016.
Time with family has always been important to me and has become even more precious during the global pandemic. Did you know the last time I was in Pendle was August 2019- right before I created The Pendle Wick? Thank goodness for Skype and Facetime for being able to talk to and see my parents, even if I can’t be with ‘em.
It's been longer than a New York minute since I got to be around Cath & Peter, and let me tell you- I am beyond excited as it gets another day closer to touching down in (what will inevitably be) a rainy, grey, bitingly cold Manchester. I'm not going to kiss the floor because that's just disgusting; also, people will think I have completely lost the plot, but I’ll be as happy as a true Englishwoman when I hit the ground there. So, mildly amused perhaps!
Christmas in our house has a few traditions; nothing too out there. We always gather around the TV at 3 p.m. for the Queen's speech. And we always have leftovers from our big Christmas dinner for tea.
Let me explain a thing here: in Northern England, we drink tea and call it a brew or a cuppa, and we also eat our tea - that's the evening meal more commonly known as dinner. Oh, and to confuse matters even more for you- we call lunch “dinner.” Now that I have just blown a few minds about this quirk of the North West of England with our funny ways- let me continue with what, in my opinion, are the best things about Christmas, especially at home. Including the inevitable Boxing Day Carnage at my sister's house! You'll hear more about this in an upcoming post, 'Over Pendle Hill & Far Away,' on my return from England.
What am I looking forward to most about being home this Christmas? Besides seeing my family again and eating all the foods I have missed from home. (Should I look into British foods and the weird things we call them? Let me know in the comments section.)
TV CHRISTMAS SPECIALS! I LOVE THEM!
The Great British Bake Off: Need I say more? Well, I am jolly well going to because this wholesome and cheery delight is a staple of feel-good. It may be fierce competition. Nobody wants a 'soggy bottom .' For most, the holy grail is not the iconic cake stand trophy but a much grander prize. Far harder to come by and rarer than a rocking horse's droppings! It's the “Hollywood Handshake.”
The Hogfather: Y'all guessed it - I saw an opportunity to talk about The Discworld, and here we are having a festive look at one of my favorite books from the series, The Hogfather. It gave me the perfect excuse - not that I ever need one - to re-read this festive season classic.
What's it about? There's the book, and if you're a fan of Michelle Dockery from Downton Abbey fame, then you will love the adaptation for the small screen. It is streaming on Amazon Prime this holiday season.
The Auditors of Reality, a group of "celestial bureaucrats," attempt to eliminate the Hogfather, a jolly god-like creature who brings children presents on December 32nd, similar to the figures of Santa Claus and Father Christmas in the US and UK. Forbidden to interfere directly by "The Rules," they pay the Assassin's Guild to kill the Hogfather instead.
Knowing that the Hogfather is also responsible for the sun rising, Death attempts to maintain belief by dressing up as the Hogfather and fulfilling his role. It is hands down one of THE best Christmas stories out there and regardless of your faith or holiday traditions- I believe you would enjoy this festive fantasy read.
Let’s move on to the hot debate of CHRISTMAS MOVIES.
There are two kinds of people—the people who know that Die Hard IS a Christmas movie and those who are wrong. It's not your Hallmark super sweet candy cane and fake snow-riddled Christmas movies that make the holiday season epic for me. I am an Elder Millenial; I [insert voice of Bane] was molded by the kind of Christmas viewing where you highlighted the must-watch favorites in the Radio Times. There was no streaming then; there wasn't even dial-up internet!
Action and adventure movies of the 1980s are a Christmas staple in our house. Every year on Christmas Day, we would watch Indiana Jones. My favorite Indie movie is Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. What's not to love about Doctor Jones? He's intelligent, handsome, well-traveled, and it's all a dream that Han Solo had while frozen in carbonite. HA! GOT YOU!! Now you’re thinking about its canon and whether or not it's possible (which of course it is).
We also watch the Star Wars trilogy (I'm talking about the OG Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford & the booming voice of James Earl Jones). A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back & Return of the Jedi. The family all squeezed together happy, full of turkey, stuffing, and way too many Quality Street candies.
PHEW-EE Now imagine that I rattled all of that off at you with full enthusiasm and minimal pauses even to draw breath.I will close it with a festive Dad Joke to wrap up this step into Christmas installment from Behind The Cauldron.
What are small, festive, and sneak about the house at Christmas?
Be good to each other & may your Hogswatch be festive & bright.
Drop a Dad Joke in the comments & the best one wins a prize!