That's the math out of the way !
So I'm well used to the cultural differences by now and although I've never been much of a Christmas person, I've tried to incorporate a few Brit traditions into my US festivities.
Growing up, we were too poor to afford Christmas and my parents would rewrap the same presents every year and tell us to hand them back on Boxing day in the hopes we'd forget what we got. I did have my doubts every year even though they convinced me that the comic annual was really called "Beano 1954" and the familiar stories were only familiar as they were true to life. I finally sussed it all out in 1969 when I unwrapped the "Big Ben Jigsaw Puzzle...Ages 5-8"
I was 17.
But I digress.
Several years ago I took to the US a box of Christmas Crackers, a very British, if mildly explosive product that made me somewhat nervous going through US customs.
"So what are these then ?"
"So what are these then ?"
"Well two people grab an end each and pull hard and....umm......the cracker explodes and things fall out of it....things that were in a tube."
"So it's a pipe bomb ?"
"Nooooooooo it's only a cardboard tube and the explosion is really only a little bang."
"There's no such thing as a little bang. And take that stupid hat off."
"Don't tell me you've never pulled a cracker at Christmas ?"
"Right buddy; you're pushing your luck now."
Anyway I discovered that you really need to experience Christmas Crackers from a very early age as to be introduced to them in middle age just isn't the same. Oh everyone enjoyed the pulling bit and the groaning at the jokes bit and even the silly paper hats bit - but the joy of the little gifts was short lived and most were left on the dining table when everyone retired to the living room to fall asleep. Well what did they expect from Poundstretchers ??!!
I had much more success with my one contribution to the Christmas meal - a trifle ! Man did that go down well and has continued to be a very popular addition to the groaning yule tide table ever since. The great thing about a trifle is that you can pretty much throw in anything you want - although I'd stay away from using meat of any kind. Or vegetables. Easy on the curry powder too. Best to stick with the more traditional ingredients and you'll have a winner every year.
So I don't miss Christmas in England anymore. I can live without the weather. I can live without the turkey on the table. I can live without Queen Liz moaning about her decade horribilis. I can even live without Wham, Slade, Shaking Stevens and Wizzard clogging up the charts and stopping Sir Cliff from being No.1 again.
I'll settle for wearing a t-shirt and shorts, going swimming on Christmas Day and eating a trifle better than anything I'd get in the UK. Thank you Debby.
And best of all, no more Christmas Days like this.........