So here I am, sitting in my armchair pretending to be watching Pointless with Mr B, when really my eyes are fixed upon our very special Advent Box 2020. I am filled with anticipation for the moment when I carefully cut
through the sellotape securing the contents of the box and search within for whatever gift December 1st will bring. I hope you are impressed by the fact that I haven’t been tempted to jump the gun. Well, maybe a little bit tempted but I have learnt -
partly by experience, partly by example - that this way leads to regret.
The example was set by my dear Dad, one Christmas so many moons ago. By way of background
information, I need to explain that my father lost his mother to the flu pandemic in 1918 at the age of two and a half. He would never, ever suggest that he had a deprived childhood, having been lovingly brought up by a father he adored, but I believe material
possessions were short in supply and I can’t imagine Christmas presents were plentiful. That was why, I suspect, when we returned from Midnight Mass on that certain Christmas, he insisted we fall upon the presents under the Christmas tree and open them
all. It seemed such a good idea at the time - it was Christmas Day after all, albeit somewhat early - and we had a regular Present Feast, ripping open the festive wrapping paper in a regular orgy of giving and receiving until every present was opened and we
reluctantly headed off to bed at about 2 a.m.
Oh, dear, the anti-climax of the rest of that Christmas Day! With all the presents opened, there was nothing
to look forward to except for dinner. Which, as is customary on Christmas Day, was a long time coming.
Even further back in time to a Christmas of my childhood,
I remember taking a peep into my brother’s bedroom, despite having been warned by my parents not to do so. I could hardly believe my eyes - two brand new bicycles, one for my Little Sister and one for me. It would never have crossed my mind that Christmas
that year was about to present me with such bounty! Which revelation was quickly followed by overwhelming regret that I had spoiled the surprise which my parents had so lovingly prepared for me. I didn’t even realise at the time that the cost of those
shiny new bikes was being spread over many months as my mum and dad sought to realise our childhood dreams. My penance, of course, was that I couldn’t tell anybody what I had done - not my parents and certainly not my Little Sister who would have such
a surprise come Christmas Day.
I have learn, therefore, from both example and experience, that it pays to wait in eager anticipation before unveiling a present.
I am just a little worried what will happen if Mr B, as is his wont, calls me in the early hours of the morning. There will be, from his point of view, a very good reason
for calling me; I, as I stagger blearily downstairs trying to wrest myself out of my dreams, will be less certain of this. It will take a good half-hour to settle him down with a glass of “nice, cold milk”, tablets, plumped pillows, and other administrations,
by which time I will be wide-awake. The Advent Box 2020 will be silently beckoning to me - will I be able to resist a sneaky peek inside? Would anybody even know?
yes, but I would know, wouldn’t I? What would the Rascally Trio, who poured so much love into our wonderful surprise, think of me if they knew I had cheated?
more night - it’s not so very long to wait. Is it?