I don’t do many (if any) posts that aren’t reviews or looking at things. But reviews haven’t been very forthcoming of late, so probably for the first time ever here is a post that isn’t a look at a toy or video game!
I really enjoy writing and I think I always have. Somewhere in a family members attic or cupboard I have notepads full of weird poetry, drunken observations, ramblings, unfinished stories and loads of other nonsensical crap. I started this blog last year as a sort of creative outlet, something to keep me writing whilst still talking about stuff that was fun or silly that I liked and appreciated. I am sure a lot of bloggers find that it can be easy to fall out of the routine of writing unless some level of self-discipline . At the same time, I feel that if I write too often it just isn’t really worth reading. I don’t want my posts to be hysterically funny, but I do like to keep things lighthearted or interesting, and writing every single day does make it more of a chore and I find it really reflects it in my posts. Lately though, I haven’t really found the time to write much at all though as I am at college for three days a week and I work the other four, so I really don’t get as much time to post the stuff that I would like.
As I write this, it’s the 21st of December 2016, and I can’t help but feel disappointed. I planned to do loads this December. I was going to post about toys I had or wanted for Christmas as a kid, look at catalogues for things out nowadays that I would have wanted back then or would still want to this day, and do a whole bunch of other festive things. Instead I have done nothing but work and college. That isn’t entirely true as last week I went back down to England to visit my family and it was really nice, but so damn hectic. It always feels like we end up doing two weeks worth of stuff in just under a week, as every day we were off out somewhere. From going out for Christmas drinks with friends, visiting family, Christmas shopping, taking my younger sister out for the day, going to the cinema for the 12am showing of Star Wars Rogue One, an annual trek around the Christmas German market in Birmingham where we ate our own body weight in overpriced food, it was all a pretty hectic schedule.
Staying at my parents house made me think about Christmas times gone by. Primarily because when I was a kid growing up, it only felt like Christmas when the cheap and tacky looking foil decorations were hanging off the ceiling. I had mentioned to my girlfriend that I had an immense fondness for tacky decorations just because they were so familiar feeling, and I couldn’t help feel a little bit disappointed noticing that these days my Mum is a little more upmarket with her decorating. The tacky foil decorations were nowhere to be seen and the tackiness was down to a minimum. Instead she had fancy baubles hanging off the ceiling, and everything looked more ‘traditional’. It’s all well and good I suppose, the house was really warm and inviting and the Christmas tree was lovely. It’s just funny that as I have really strong and positive memories of Christmas as a kid, I cannot help but have a somewhat fixed notion of what visually constitutes it. Which is silly, as I really do appreciate it when I can see the work that someone has put into decorating their house.
I love Christmas now, but as a kid it seemed like even more of a magical experience. My school holidays seemed to start waaaaay before Christmas (though whether this was the actual case or perhaps I just had way less responsibilities back then, I don’t know), and the temptation to sneakily go and feel any present with my name written on always overtook me. If the paper was cheap, if you licked your finger and wet a small part of it then you could sometimes see what the contents were. I don’t think it ever ruined the surprise, as I used to really look forward to receiving whatever I had spied.
Most of the presents I ask for these days are things I didn’t manage to get as a kid or things I had as a kid and want again. This year on my list to the great red-clad sleigh-rider there was some Gameboy games, Lego, Star Wars figures and more similar things to what I put on my list about twenty years ago. I don’t think it’s just because I am a nerd or that I am nostalgic, (though I am undoubtedly guilty of both charges) but Christmas just wouldn’t feel like Christmas without tearing the paper off a Greedo action figure or the like. I mean, I do like getting sensible grown up presents as well like socks and shower gel, but as a kid I had the mentality that anyone who didn’t deliver an action figure or Pokemon toy of some kind probably should have been ostracized from the family. I could deal with some serious presents but they had to be somewhat themed towards something I liked. For example; I remember in 1999 I received a toothbrush and holder which was fine as it was one of the seventeen billion Star Wars Episode I products on the shelves at the time. The holder part had a Naboo fighter and a Droid Starfighter that span around as you brushed your teeth. I’m not describing it very well, but luckily I found a picture.
This was actually an ebay listing I just purchased after searching for a picture. Why did I buy it? I am not sure. Maybe just because I am an expert at buying crap, but maybe because it was just so cheap because no-one likes Episode I and is a reminder of one of the few occasions where I was genuinely pleased to receive a toothbrush as a Christmas present.
Christmas was never just about receiving a bunch of awesome toys, though that certainly was one of the best parts of it. Obviously spending time with the family was nice, and is something I appreciate all the more since I moved away from them. But my family has always been very close knit, so as a kid it wasn’t like I had family members that only turned up once or twice a year at Christmas. Everyone was always visiting each other, all of the time regardless of the occasion. Now I am a family member that only turns up once or twice a year!
I find it really interesting going for Christmas dinner at my girlfriends sisters house. It is fascinating to see other peoples traditions and stuff. Everything seems a lot more organised and like clockwork. Meal-wise, everyone has a starter then there is a selection of meats for people to help themselves to and all of the trimmings, followed by a choice of desserts. At my Grandparents house, Gran would get up at the crack of dawn to prepare for Christmas lunch, and by 1pm when everyone would arrive she would look like she was going to have a teary, stress ridden breakdown. After serving everyone up their plates of food, she would wander about with a bowl of sprouts or gravy or potatoes in her hand, trying to dump more on peoples plates. If ever a family member couldn’t make it and had arranged to have Christmas dinner or lunch with their partners family instead, she would sit and silently start bawling as though they were no longer among the living. I love my Gran to bits, and she is one of the funniest people I know, though probably not intentionally. I should write about her one day, and some of the amazing things she has said as I could probably fill a book, as she says so many things that could easily be misinterpreted. One of the highlights was her talking about a Doctor she had to visit called Doctor Foster whom she thought was a thoroughly nice, decent and caring man, so much so she proclaimed “Everyone should have a bit of Doctor Foster in ’em.”
Though I do love spending Christmas with my Girlfriends side of the family, I always hope my Gran isn’t crying too much at my not being there, or I wonder what unintentionally hysterical thing she has said that I have missed.
One of the other awesome things about Christmas is the telly. Christmas TV is the best kind of TV. Throughout the year in the UK, you don’t get that many good things on the box, but come Christmas all of the good shit is on. Usually stuff like Jurassic park, Batman, Toy Story, Mathilda, Small Soldiers, etc. When I was little we seemed to spend most of our time at other relatives houses visiting, but I often managed to sneak off to a quieter room to watch something. Even today there is usually good stuff on, though I don’t seem have the time to sit down and watch anything with the exception of Christmas and New Years day, where hopefully I might be able to catch something good.
I am probably droning on a bit and I don’t really know what the purpose of this post was. Maybe just a way for me to sit down quietly and think about my Christmas memories. As time goes by, I am sadly more aware that I will never be seven or eight or nine years old again. Holidays aren’t seemingly endless any more. I will never again tear open the wrapping paper off a GI Joe Street Fighter II Blanka action figure or a Star Wars Micro Machines Transforming Death Star, or any of the other awesome toys I got for Christmas with the same excited tenacity of my childhood self.
Okay, I’m talking a complete load of shit there. Just wait ’til Sunday (Christmas day) when I am ripping a First Order Storm Trooper off of his cardback with reckless abandon, or assembling my Lego Marvel Superheros Tanker Truck Takedown, or exercising my thumbs to a Ninja Turtles gameboy game I have never played before. I shall demonstrate excited tenacity.
It’s easy to look back at the past and remember just the good things whilst being unintentionally ignorant of the plenty of good things that are here in the present. I have a Gameboy with a screen that lights up these days where as that wasn’t a thing when I was a kid, and I can drink booze. ‘Tis a wonderful time to be alive!
I shall hopefully post again before Christmas. Or on Christmas. Or after Christmas. Who knows. But if I don’t before, then I sincerely wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!