Christmas Countdown

‘On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me……………………..’

Stop singing. I begin with an apology. And shout out to all those Crimble songsters in the blogosphere who prefer your annual sing-along neat, pure and minimalist. Nothing in Casa Carmichael is that way – no ends, buts or peut etres and for that I can do nothing but say ‘sorry’.

It has dawned on yours truly that the longer I procrastinate in tapping this post the less I need write. But I have dallied long enough and there are now fewer than two fistfuls of days until the big one.  So, on with the show.

Eight:  On the eighth day before Christmas the paucity of merry christmas/happy new year cards gracing the Carmichael shelves cannot be ignored. If we remove the local curry house’s salutation along with a festively decorated offering from one of the local primary schools that has used on- tap child labour to deliver a missive announcing their Key Stage Two results to the hood, we have eight. Eight matches the days until we eat turkey and cranberry sauce but, in card stakes, is not very many is it?

I blame myself. About a decade ago I lost my address book. It had been a wedding present, was leather bound and contained much information. I know it would be worth money were I famous. But I’m not and its leaving passed with but a whimper. Before it left it fell to pieces, slowly but with menace. The M’s stopped receiving Carmichael cards first, followed the next year by the V’s. Being a solo, the V’s hardly counted but before December of the following year my address book was no more.

The guilt I felt at being unable to send cards that year was huge. The next, I’ll admit to a twinge and now I don’t even think about it. Is that terrible? Or is it a good thing?

There was a hiatus of four or five years when cards still poured in to us – perfect but slowly, oh so slowly my deleterious behaviour has been noted and now in 2014 we have a paltry eight cards on the 19th of December. It’s almost embarrassing to put them up. But I am made of sterner stuff. I have spread them wide and thin. Those who faithfully wish us well deserve to be honoured. Thank you and merry christmas to all.

merry christmas to all (mrscarmichael)
merry christmas my lovelies

Seven: episodes of Missing to watch, all backed up on my Sky Planner. My task (and yes, I have chosen to accept it) is to finish them by Christmas Day. For two reasons. Firstly, it’s a worthy thing to do and I can hide away whilst doing it. Secondly we are cancelling our Sky contract (finally Mr C is getting his way – call it an early present) and installing Virgin. All current recording will vanish.

Six: we are for Christmas this year which means I have enough matching plates, champagne glasses, wine glasses, themed napkins (linen), and a table large enough to seat us all without taking turns. The Carmichaels are not so good at taking turns so this is a good thing. I am excited not to have the hired table and chairs in my living room ’till mid-January this time round. Another good thing.

Five: presents to buy. Things are going extraordinarily well. It’s worrying. I think I am in control of present acquisition. Many are even wrapped. Of course, Mr Carmichael has not got out of park yet. That is always a moment to marvel at. If history repeats the hurricane that is my husband’s pressy purchasing begins on Christmas Eve – after lunch, just as the sun goes down.

“What would you like for Christmas?” he asks from his cell phone, as he stands in a shopping mall, at gone 4.30pm.

Perhaps this year will be different. I’ll let you know.

Four: desserts to try. This year we are going off piste and will not be enjoying Daughter #1’s white chocolate cheesecake. Although delicious we want a change and she wants to cook the brussel sprouts instead. Nor will we not be enjoying my SIL’s triffle on steroids. H…… understands. And is consigned to christmas crackers and all things cheese. It’s for the best and therefore a good thing. You can trust me on that one.

Three/Two: strings of christmas tree lights/two trees. ‘Why three? Why two?’ you ask and it is a most reasonable question. This is why.

the boy's first christmas (mrscarmichael)
the boy beneath the boughs (mrscarmichael)

As good as puppy Lyle is on his perambulations he is not a good boy within Casa Carmichael’s four walls. His adult teeth like to chew. They like to chew glasses, cases for glasses, pens, biros, magazines, mail, money (yes, money!), newspapers, sticks, concrete, toys and socks. Extrapolating from this heady compilation, we can assume that trees, decorations and presents might also be delicious to a ten month old Cockapoo.

My suggestion was that we got a small tree this year to sit atop a table (see above) that he could admire from afar. That suggestion did not go down well. One thing Carmichael pere and enfants adore is tradition. There was a fight. I said I was doing the small tree anyway. So I buy a small box of lights. I test the lights. They work. I put them on the tree. The rest (re another tree), I said, was up to them. Ha!

Days later and with a guilty heart, I chose and purchased a second tree. I have to admit it’s a stunner.

christmas tree numero dos (mrscarmichael)
christmas tree numero dos (mrscarmichael)

Please, it you have a moment read what happens in CC, when tree picking goes wrong. Here it is, you have my permission to feel smug (Me, Thee or the Tree).

Oh, and there, within that post are lights numero 1 – hmmm. Note to self, ring trading standards when a moment frees up. But wait, I’m jumping ahead of myself.

“This year, “I tell Daughter #2, “you can do the lights as well as the decorations.”

“I don’t want to do the lights,” she replies.

“Nor do I,” I retort. “In fact I don’t even want the tree.” Bah humbug.

There is a stalemate and we agree to do the lights together once she rises from her bed. I have lunch while I wait.

“Test the lights,” I tell her. “We don’t want to waste hours only to find they don’t work.”

“They work,” she shouts and we spend the next good while getting scratched but doing a good job, light-wise.

That done, I retire, excited to get on with my day. Her scream halts me on the stairs. “The lights don’t work,” she cries.

I turn to see the top third of the tree lit, the bottom two thirds shrouded in blackness. I get very cross. She gets crosser. Mr Carmichael joins in with the crossing. It’s all very noisy. I leave the house. It’s the most positive thing I can contribute to the moment.

Mr C buys another box of lights. We now have 50 spare christmas bulbs. Is that a good thing? Hmmm.

2014 – the year of three sets of lights and two trees. Lyle is in heaven. He is not in the living room unless accompanied.

One: It’s Lyle’s first Christmas. What a good thing that is.

what's santa brought you, Lyle? (mrscarmichael)
what’s santa brought you, Lyle? (mrscarmichael)





20 thoughts on “Christmas Countdown

  1. I can relate to the paucity of cards situation. I blame those horrid singing elf e-cards.
    Lyle is SO cute (love his name too) – best of luck keeping him away from your lovely tree! You may need a little gate. Many years ago our cat leaped up the side of our tree, causing the whole thing to fall over, smashed baubles and all – no glass on our tree nowadays!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    1. Saskia, he is cute which is half the problem. Will not be putting his edible treats under the tree ’till he is safe abed (locked in the laundry room).

      Oh yes, I should blame the elf cards too -horrid.

  2. I haven’t sent any card this year (blame it only just returning from the antipodes) though interestingly we have currently received 10 cards and one e-card. (I threw away the one from the Sally Army) I suspect we won’t be receiving many more before next Thursday. We also have zero trees. Gave up on trees 10 years ago. And we are having a leg of lamb for dinner; no crackers, no sprouts and no cranberry sauce AND no presents – now if only I could disable all those bl**dy Christmas songs…

    Have a good one MrsC 😀

    1. Ha wish I could do away with the turkey but Mr C…… never had it as a child. I am wondering if I could cook large chicken. he’d probably like it more but not worth the risk.
      I’d struggle with no presents but as for the rest #agreed.

      Have a good one yourself.

    1. you make a good point. I have allocated time tomorrow to pick the finalists – a raspberry semifredo is top of the list currently.
      All must have the ability to be made the day before.

  3. You do make me laugh so! I am delighted to know that Casa Carmichael abounds in so very many good things this year, and Lyle is adorable. My god, I’ll bet he can chew through anything.

    1. yes, we have found nothing that stumps him in the ‘chew and destroy’ stakes……yet.

      tonight’s GOOD THING is getting rid of all Carmichaels (except Lyle) and enjoying ciabatta, smoked salmon with a squeeze of lemon, wine, a roaring fire and watching ANYTHING I WANT on tv – purr

  4. Turkey and cranberry sauce for Christmas, you say? It isn’t only a common language that divides Brits and Americans, evidently.
    (You’re a month late for that, you know. Oh well, perhaps that’s A Good Thing!)
    Good luck on the tree, the lights, the puppy, the dinner! There’s always the champagne. Another Good Thing.
    Happy, Merry, what you will to all the inhabitants of Casa Carmichael —

    1. Thank you so much. I’m sure it will be all good. In saying that – the baby Lyle has, last night, decimated a scarf that I bought for YT in Santa Monica. If I hadn’t had such an otherwise good day yesterday, I would be very cross.

      Happy Christmas/NY to you and yours.

  5. Love your delegation skills Mrs C. I’m just starting on the no cards track. This year I weakened and sent to those that sent to me, after I received them, after initially declaring “no cards this year” Today a swag arrived so I am now debating whether to ignore them or send a NY greeting…,

    1. I promise it gets easier…….. It’s all good now in Casa Carmichael but we did have another lighting hiccup that involved me, the little tree and a full removal of decals and lights to get the bulbs working again. Thank heavens for the 50 spares 🙂

now it's your turn

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s