No, no the Christmas just gone, but those of my childhood.
Christmas Day is, of course, not like any other day. And my family always liked to spend it with at least one set of grandparents, usually my maternal ones, and often with aunts, uncles and (much later) cousins as well. But there was a downside to this – and it wasn’t everyone falling out or anything like that.
My Gran had a very strange rule about Christmas. For some incomprehensible reason, she believed that all children should go to bed in the afternoon of Christmas Day.
To my mind, this was utterly unreasonable. I didn’t go to bed in the afternoon any other day of the year, I hadn’t done so for years and in fact I still don’t do so because it actually makes me feel ill. As much as I looked forward to Christmas Day, I hated the period after lunch with a passion.
I am also pleased to say that I did, at least once, put a stop to this nonsense. When I was 10 we – unusually – spent Christmas at Gran and Grandad’s house. It was the last time we did so (a year later Mum and Dad had four children to transport by rail and decided that it was too much hassle to leave home) and, if memory serves me correctly, the last time the ‘afternoon’ rule was invoked.
To cut a long story short, I simply decided to disobey the rule. I had toys that I wanted to play with, particularly a new board game, and I wasn’t going to stay upstairs on Christmas Day for anyone.
Needless to say, I was highly unpopular with the adults. But it served my purpose, and there will certainly be no such stupid rule in my house on any Christmas in the future.