Christmas on Becca's Books | My Christmas Day by Jon Rance

~ My Christmas Day ~

By Jon Rance

I’ll start by saying that I love Christmas. I mean, I really LOVE Christmas. It’s by far the best day of the year. Of course it’s better when you’re a kid. When you wake up super early, the excitement at knowing that Santa broke into your house and left a huge pile of Christmas under the tree. The adrenalin knowing it’s going to be a day filled with presents, sweets, cakes, a delicious turkey dinner, dessert, a whole box of (probably open) Quality Street chocolates, more presents, and Christmas television. Christmas day isn’t just the best day of the year when you’re a kid, it’s everything. It makes going to school for the whole year absolutely worth it.

Then, of course, as you get older things change. I’ve had drunken Christmases, verging on but not quite yet grown-up ones with house share friends in London, a crazy one in Sydney - when I fell in love - but that’s another story. The truth is, it’s best when we’re kids or when we have kids. My kids are now six and four. Also known as the perfect age to really enjoy Christmas!

Our Christmas day starts as they all should - very early! My children enjoy the sound of birds waking up - or maybe even returning home after a late night out. It’s dark outside, cold, and they’re on our bed tearing at wrapping paper, while my wife and I rub our eyes and squint at the time on our phones - hoping it isn’t the middle of the night. 

One of my favourite parts of Christmas day is making breakfast. I go all out and make bacon and eggs with all the trimmings. The children are playing with their new toys, Christmas music is playing in the background, while I’m in the kitchen. The smell of bacon, Noddy Holder singing, “Merry Xmas Everybody’ and a strong cup of coffee because it’s still really early - the perfect start to the day.

After breakfast there’s the traditional lull until the grandparents come over with more presents. The kids get really excited because it’s time to open the ‘main’ presents. The next hour can be summed up like this: We sit around the tree, the kids go mental, there’s wrapping paper everywhere, I get some socks, deodorant, maybe some talcum powder, the kids argue about something, there’s fighting, we threaten to take away their new toys, it all calms down, I make everyone a nice cup of tea. And relax.

There’s always the Christmas Day lull isn’t there? The part of the day between the initial excitement, presents, and then eating dinner. The children are playing, my wife and I are cooking, watching some festive television, debating how early is acceptable to start drinking (10am?), until it’s time to eat. For me the Christmas dinner is my early morning present excitement. I mean there’s turkey, roast potatoes, gravy, stuffing, a variety of vegetables, and alcohol. This is my ‘main’ present. I’m also usually a little bit drunk by now so the noise of the children arguing or trying to find some batteries, somehow seems less jarring.

After everything is tidied away, it’s the second lull - or to name it properly - the bit where parents start to fall asleep because they’ve been awake since the middle of the night and drinking since 10am. Luckily, there’s usually something on television worth watching. The evening comes and the house is a mess. There’s toys all over the floor, bits of wrapping paper like confetti are strewn across the house, food is everywhere, and the children are nibbling at some cheese or more likely cake, while we’re on the sofa slightly comatose, watching television, and still drinking.

Eventually the children fall asleep somewhere looking like the bodies you see at Pompeii. If they were discovered in the night by sleep archeologists they’d say something like, “and this is just how they were playing when the sleep hit them”. They’re carried off to bed and it’s the time of day when my wife and I should probably tidy up, but we’re too tired. Instead we sit cuddled up on the sofa, surrounded by the piles of festive detritus, drinking tea because we can’t drink anymore alcohol, watching television, and thinking back on another year of our children’s lives, dreading the day when they’re too old to really enjoy it like this and instead just want to “go out with their mates”.

Tiring, messy, full of fights, arguments, threats, too many presents, too much alcohol and food, but a day I love. It’s nostalgic and in the moment all at once. If it was a montage in the middle of the film, there’d be clips of my childhood with my parents, and then cut back to the present with me and my family. It’s warm, fuzzy, and there’s really nothing like it.

Jon Rance is the author of four novels: the Kindle top ten bestseller, This Thirtysomething Life, Happy Endings (both published by Hodder and Stoughton), This Family Life and Sunday Dinners. He's also the author of the short story prequel, This Twentysomething Life.

Jon studied English Literature at Middlesex University, London, before going travelling and meeting his American wife in Australia. Jon loves comedy (especially sitcoms), the films of Richard Curtis, travelling and tea. He just turned forty, which is a terrifying time, so his books might get a bit edgier and possibly angrier as a result.

Jon writes dramatic, romantic, comedy fiction similar to the work of Mike Gayle, Matt Dunn, Nick Spalding and David Nicholls.

You can find Jon Rance on Facebook | Twitter |

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