Saturday, 24 October 2015

The Christmas Elephant

Around the end of August. I'm aware - just slightly aware - of a hint of its trunk, with the arrival of the first catalogue. I ignore it.

By the middle of September, one grey foot can be glimpsed through in the doorway. We (my family) all ignore that, too. We laugh nervously, and speak of other things.

October, and a huge grey head peers round the door. Elephant? What elephant? I didn't see an elephant, we say, as we edge round it on leaving the room. We don't believe in elephants around here. Now, what was it we were saying? All kinds of things; that's what we were taking about. But not that elephant. Perish the thought.

Mid-October, and things are hotting up. The elephant sidles into the room looking shy but determined. Nobody mentions it. End of October, and the elephant gets desperate, and starts trumpeting. We know that if we continue to ignore it, it will come crashing in and trash the house.

Eventually, someone takes pity on it. "Um.... what's everyone doing for Christmas?" s/he says.
"Christmas? Oh, Christmas! Haven't really thought about it," we trill merrily, lying in our teeth,  as the elephant begins to settle down, simpering, in a corner. Because the elephant knows just what 's going to happen. There will be talk of Whose Turn it is, and who has, or hasn't, got room for everyone; there's talk of in-law and out-laws, and Chrstmas Lunch (or maybe just Christmas Tea?), and who will or won't be pleased/offended/upset/disappointed.

And me? I just stay very, very quiet; not least because last year, I well and truly messed things up with misunderstandings and prevarications, and was (quite rightly) reprimanded. So I'll just settle down quietly in the elephant's corner,  and eat one of the elephant's bananas.

And wait...

(With acknowledgments to B, who pointed out the elephant thing.)

22 comments:

  1. Even if the elephant starts spraying water from it's trunk and dragging logs around the van I will ignore it and by 2016 it will have gone away.

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  2. For me, it's welcoming a dear friend as soon as I catch the first glimpse of the elephant :-)
    I love Christmas, and all that's involved. But then of course there isn't all that much for me to do; only a very select few (those who will be there on Christmas Eve) will receive one present each, the meal is traditionally held at my parents', and I don't have a big family of my own to consider.
    Actually when we were on a walk together yesterday, I mentioned that it was the 24th of October - exactly 2 months until Christmas Eve, and one month until the start of our Christmas Market. Yippee!!!

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    1. Meike, I'm not saying I don't love Christmas Day. I'm just....troubled by the Arrangements.

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  3. My daughter demanded we have the 'elephant' talk last week. Phew... at least that's out the way now!

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    1. Oh, well done your daughter! Mine is pretty organised too. I think...

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  4. One of my sons suggested last week that the close family have a " secret santa" rather than buying lots of bits and bobs that no one needs, and then we all go to a show in London in Feb/March. The youngest son not keen, as he likes getting lots of presents to open just as he did when he was a child! ( he is 28)

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    1. Frances, I love your first idea. I like giving presents, but it's the trying to buy the right thing that's difficult. And I get really disappointed by those who just want money. Money is so bleak and naked, somehow.

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  5. Why are you talking about the motorway, Frances? Or perhaps you mean clouds? I'm sure you mentioned something big and grey.

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    1. Who, me? Something big and grey, you say? It wasn't me, Patsy.

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  6. Love your approach to it all, Frances! I don't mind the elephant at all by this time as I enjoy thinking about it. But it must be much more difficult with bigger families and too many people to consult. Waiting in the corner sounds like a good idea - someone will tell you what's happening soon enough!

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  7. Our elephant seems to get smaller each year as we only have to consider immediate family. The older grandchildren would prefer money, which makes it easier. Just added it up and I only have to buy for eight plus a new baby by Christmas Day. Who goes where also seems to have fallen into a regular pattern, so I try not to stress. But I'm still glad when it's all over. Then the days start getting longer and it will soon be Spring!

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    1. Meanwhile, our elephant's getting ever bigger, Maggie. But I'm quite fond if it really.

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  8. Until last year I'd spent the previous 9 in New Zealand and The Family took care of Christmas and I just did as I was bid. Last year I had a friend staying and we were invited out to other friends. This year I shall just say "Elephant? What Elephant? I see no Elephant." Something will happen and I may or may not be there when it does.

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    1. Let's hope something nice happens, Graham, and the elephant arrives laden with wonderful gifts and lots of champagne.

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  9. I run towards the elephant , squealing with delight . But do wish he'd learn to peel Brussel sprouts and wash up .

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    1. Gat the sprouts ready peeled, S&S. You know you're worth it.

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  10. Love this post. I always try to ignore that first sighting of his trunk!

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    1. Just try not to trip over it, Lindsay!

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