Sunday, December 25, 2011

Nana Celebrates Christmas

Our presents have been opened and the Christmas meal devoured. We have enough leftovers to feed us for the rest of the week, but if past history is any indicator, we'll tire of turkey by Tuesday and order a pizza.  This has been a low key Christmas.  We stayed home, just the spouse and I and our adult son.  The spouse and I agreed not to exchange gifts because we didn't need anything and if we did need or want something, then we'd just buy it for ourselves.  So we bought ourselves a new television and the spouse ordered new fancy binoculars and next week I'll hit the after-Christmas sales and probably find something I can't live without.

We had dinner about 2:00.  I've never been able to determine how long everything will take to cook, so we don't plan a meal time.  We just eat when everything is done.

We had Christmas crackers at our dinner table.  There's a picture of a Christmas cracker above.  They're one of those things that you always see in pictures of English Christmas celebrations.  You hold one end and someone else holds the other and you pull until the cracker pops.  Inside there's a small plastic toy or charm, a paper hat, and a fortune or joke.  In those English Christmas pictures everyone is sitting around the table wearing the paper hats.  When I've visited England, I've always purchased crackers to bring home.  My children enjoyed the tradition when we could find crackers.  Now I can order them online, but it seems a little silly to get them for three adults.  Unless the grandchildren come visit us for Christmas  the four crackers I found this year in a dusty box when I unpacked the Christmas decorations will probably be our last.

So at dinner the spouse, our son and I held on to the ends of the crackers and tugged them open with a pop.  The tradition is that you have to pull the cracker open with someone else.  I got a lovely pink paper crown, a small plastic top, and a joke.  The problem is that none of us understand the joke.  I figure it must be an English thing.  Can any of you Brits explain this joke to me?

What do you call a fish with letters running down its middle?
Answer:  Rock Salmon 
None of us get it...and that's as exciting as our Christmas conversation got this year!

There's a part of me that longs for the excitement of Christmas past when we had small children giddy with anticipation for Santa.  This year I had to settle for talking with my granddaughters on the phone. 

I'm learning that in retirement the one thing that doesn't slow down is change.  Our Christmas is different now that our children are adults, but I've learned to appreciate however we celebrate the holiday.

Merry Christmas everyone!


  1. Yes, it is a very British thing. Traditionally when Brits go to the seaside, the resort will sell these long straight candy-cane like sticks. If you look at the bottom of this stick you can see the letters with the name of the resort, i.e. 'Brighton' and the word 'rock -- which magically runs all the way through the candy -- So if you were to cut the candy in half -- you would still see the letters! So you see, Graham Greene's 'Brighton Rock' was a play on words...

    For a clearer explanation!

  3. Thanks for your explanation. It makes sense now. When I was a child my grandmother would send us packages and include English candy. I remember eating Brighton Rock, but my favorite was Dolly Mix. I never would have made the connection between that candy and a "fish with letters down the middle."

  4. I never heard of Christmas crackers until this year on another blog. And I had never heard of May baskets hung on doorknobs until I learned it from yet another blogger. The internet is my educational tool these days!

    We also had a very slow and quiet Christmas. It's not the same without kids, is it? :-)

  5. Thankfully I had two teenagers two celebrate Christmas morning with, but it is different without small children. I miss the giddy anticipation that little kids have.

    I'm glad you enjoyed your day. Merry belated Christmas!

  6. Our son is all grown but he still treats Christmas like he's five or six years old. But it is quite different when there aren't small children around. Maybe next year Santa will bring us a small child--a grandchild.

  7. We're not quite finished. Children and grandchildren arrive late today for dinner and gifts. I believe Santa may make a late delivery.

  8. We had several small children at our Christmas: my brother-in-law (age 64); my daughter (age 28); and me (age 62). Everyone else behaved like an adult.

  9. Christmas does seem different without little kids. It's been a long time for us, as there are no grandchildren and the girls still in college. We sleep in, take all the time in the world to open gifts, eat a leisurely breakfast. We used to have dinner in the early afternoon, but this year my niece asked the girls to go to a movie mid afternoon. We ended up eating a hodgepodge dinner after 6, watched a Christmas movie and called it a night. It was a different Christmas, but a good one!

  10. We've been so blessed to have all of our children and grandchildren with us every Christmas. I believe we had 22 celebrants on Christmas Day. It was great fun. Most of them returned the day after Christmas. This morning I slept until the unheard-of hour of 11. Was I tired?

  11. I know exactly what you mean. Christmas is just not the same when there are not children around. We had to fit our Christmas around visitation schedules which made it difficult. That is just the way it is these days.

    It was good not to travel this Christmas. I am over that.

    Love the Christmas crackers, but I am no help with the joke. I have no idea what it means.

  12. Funny, I enjoyed Christmas tremendously, without a child in sight. Not on any of the days. Ah, civilisation!

    Happy New Year, Grandma!

  13. Our Christmas has also changed. All five of the kids are grown and some have their own things to do, or multiple visits to make. I really do like it now that it's calmer.
    Happy New Year to you my friend! thanks for your support and nice comments during 2011.

  14. I love crackers, and buy them even though it's only grownups at our Christmas table these days. I figure it there are no kids present, we can always call up our inner often neglected ones.

    Happy New Year!

  15. I discovered your blog when I saw your recent comment on Linda Hoye's blog and I've been enjoying reading your postings this morning, especially this one. We love Christmas crackers and actually started making our own a few years ago. Our family is all adults at this point, but we still do the crackers every you've given me something to write about for my blog next holiday season. :-)


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