Susan Morrison: Suit yourself for Christmas but do it with the family

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Earthshattering it might be, but there is actually quite a lot of folk who don’t like their families. It’s not the season to admit this, I know.

Before we go any further, I am speaking theoretically here. I’m more than chuffed to be welcoming my brother and sister-in-law on Christmas Day. My wee brother, rather surprisingly, had the good sense to marry a wise and sensible woman, and who, most importantly, didn’t do a runner for the airport when she met me. Although I must admit I did notice that I was the last member of the family to be introduced to her. It was as if I was being kept as some sort of test.

Anyway, we’ve got a long history in Scotland of being cagey with our relatives by marriage. Why, our very own James IV was bumped off at Flodden by an army raised by his sister-in-law, which must have made that particular Christmas get-together a bit prickly when Henry VIII’s widowed sister Margaret fetched up for a touch of the yuletides.
It’s most unlikely, though, that any of you, good readers, will be heading up armies to march on England anytime soon, which, let’s face it, has got to be the most extreme excuse not to visit the in-laws on Christmas Day.

“Spending Christmas with your brothers family this year, then?”

“No, we thought we’d do a spot of cross-border raiding and burn Carlisle instead . . .

We can, of course, blame Charles Dickens for this family thing. In A Christmas Carol, he spends a lot of time laying down subliminal rules for family behaviour. Party games, singing carols and eating a lot seem to be the trick.

Its all about old Scrooge getting together with his jolly nephew while the hardworking poverty line Crachits sit around drinking rum punch. Incidentally, the youngest Crachit, Tiny Tim, who today would be waiting for his interview with ATOS, is handed a huge mug of steaming alcohol without a dicky bird being said. No wonder he sat in the corner leaning against a wall wittering sickly sentimental nonsense about “gawd bless us”.

So, we can thank Dickens for the crowd around the relocated table, the endless wrapping paper, the tree that weeps needles into the carpet, the toys that need batteries – no, not those batteries, the other batteries, yes that’s right, the batteries you left in the car – the jumpers that light up on Christmas Day and the jeans that won’t do up on Boxing Day, the teens being stroppy, the toddlers being sick, and granny looking for advocaat. In the kitchen, frazzled amateur cooks try to do a Delia and the noise hits decibel levels that mean a Harrier could land outside the window and no-one would hear it and house is hootchin with folk.

And given the news from America, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

See you Jimmy, in three dimensions

EXCITEMENT is at fever pitch in Glasgow. The Krankies, no less, are to reprise the role that made them famous a few years ago, namely Jack and The Beanstalk. The public will remember that Wee Jimmy Krankie came a cropper when he/she tumbled from the said stalk. Glaswegians and vegetables have long had a fraught relationship. The panto is billed as having 3D effects. Bearing in mind that it is a live performance, wouldn’t everything be 3D? Or did that fall from the stalk flatten Wee Jimmy so comprehensively that he/she is, in fact, as two-dimensional as a cardboard cutout?

End of world? Meh!

ANYWAY, this whole Chrimbo thing might be bust. According to the Mayans, its ta-ta planet today. Mayans, you know, are just chock full of ancient wisdom, oh yes, and they knew that the world would get eaten by a giant lizard or something.

Well, let me tell you, if some great Godzilla lurches from the Forth and gets in front of an army of busy mums doing the last-minute shopping it’s liable to be crushed underfoot in the rush for the last rolls of shiny red wrapping paper.

I imagine there are few things more despondent than a civilisation devouring behemoth sitting at Newhaven harbour being ignored.

Is was royal ennui

HOW nice to see that David Cameron has increased the number of women in his cabinet, even if it is the Queen. She just sat out of the way, they said. How on earth could the Queen ‘just sit out of the way’? She’s the Queen, for heavens sake. How often do you walk into a meeting and find the Queen lurking beside the tea trolley? What on earth did she make of it all? Bored rigid, I would have thought. It must have been like sitting in on a particularly rubbish dinner party with only biscuits and non-fizzy water.