Tis the season, apparently . . .
I can tell it's almost Christmas because my family is at war and my mother has stopped talking to me. If you come from a family as dysfunctional as mine Santa isn't coming with a remedy and a whole bunch of sweetness and light within his Santa sack. It's more likely he's coming with a box full of guilt wrapped in a ribbon laced with tears and tied with a handful of fisticuffs.
A fat man in a red suit is not going to be able to fix the emotional turbulence and underlying hostility within my clan unless we're in a boxing ring and he's the referee. I'm sure poor Rudolph only got a red nose because my brother punched him.
Every year it's the same. I give my nearest and dearest expensive and thoughtful gifts when all they want to give me is a black eye. It's terribly hard to sit across a dinner table from someone when you are desperately fighting the urge to pick up a turkey leg and batter them with it. It gets to be embarrassing when instead of saying "pass the salt" you find "pass me a loaded gun" just tumbled from your mouth.
Christmas dinner chez Warner is like sitting the Corleone's and the Sopranos opposite one another and telling them to make merry.
The first time one of my best friends met my family she said "they are great fun but I think they are a little bit crazy". She then sang the theme tune to the Addams family and made it an ode to my family dysfunction "They do what they want to do, live how they want to live, Warner family".
I sometimes surprise myself when I realise I've been quietly humming or singing it. It's become my mantra and code to live by and also my way of excusing any insane behaviour (on behalf of my relatives - not me).
You should try it next time someone in your family upsets you "they do what they want to do, live how they want to live (insert name here) family". Trust me - it works.
In an attempt to bring the Christmas spirit back into my life I bought and trimmed a Christmas tree. It helped that I poured a bottle of Christmas spirit down my throat while doing it. The front of my tree looks like everything I love in a woman, gaudy, overdressed, swathed in tinsel and adorned with huge baubles. The back looks like everything I love in a man, broad, dark, dense and furry. The only thing that ties my love of trees, men and women together is that all three must be able to wear (and totally work) a rope of twinkling, coloured lights.
I never really pay as much attention to the back of my tree as I do the front so I guess my idea of tree decoration is rather shallow. If you can't see it, I'm not decorating it. It's purely about the frontage and kind of like having drapes at your windows but letting your back doors get smashed in. If you can't see it with your eyes then I'm not touching it with my fingers.
As a child I used to believe that news readers only had clothes on from the front and that if by chance the camera went behind whomever was breaking the latest news of famine, disease or strife then you would see the news readers hairy back and arse. I guess it was a way to take away from the awfulness of the world and bring some comedy into it (unless the news reader was a woman with a hairy back and arse, that would be wrong and more scary than famine, disease or strife).
I had a real craving for black tinsel this year but I couldn't find any. When I asked for some in the Christmas shop at Liberty's of London the girl looked at me like I'd taken the manger from the nativity and pissed in it. I guess black isn't very festive but I knew exactly what I wanted, a huge boa of black tinsel. Thick like a well fed foxes tail but long enough to wrap around a 6ft Christmas tree.
Instead I had to make do with silver.
My tree looks like Cher, Diana Ross and Liberace got into a dressing up box full of dynamite which then exploded into a typhoon of mirror balls and glitter which could only be tempered by a Liza Minnelli impersonator blowing feathers at it. In other words, it's more tat than taste.
Christmas can be a little depressing if you're single. I normally bypass this because I have multiple personality disorder (self diagnosed). I never really know who I'm going to wake up as so if I hate the gifts I've bought myself then I can always blame someone else.
Last year I caused a terrible scene in the denim department in Selfridges because me, myself and I were all trying to fit into a size 30" vintage wash denim with pocket detail. We ended up leaving with nothing but a year long store ban and a tarnished reputation. The only good thing about my disorder is you always have someone else with you to help carry your bags and someone else can open the door when the store detectives come knocking.
If you really can't bear to be alone this Christmas then please don't buy a puppy or a kitten. I know they are cute and cuddly, fun to dress up and give shots of brandy to "oh look how cute the puppy is staggering around and vomiting, let's video it and upload it to youtube" but a pet is for life, not just for Christmas.
The easiest way to get around this is to "borrow" someone else's.
You're not doing anything wrong because once the owners get their much loved pet back they'll think all of their Christmas' have come at once (it's best to leave the pet on their doorstep in the middle of the night). Sometimes it's best to remove the reindeer antlers as well unless you've had to cut some of the animals fur off, in that case, it's best to buy the animal a little Santa hat. "Surprise! Muffy's half poodle, half Blitzen".
I think it's time I began wrapping gifts. I'm all for re-gifting but sometimes I get the labels mixed up. Last year I gave my great aunt a pair of knuckle dusters and my two year old nephew a pair of tights. My aunt is now a prize fighter and my nephew a bank robber so it all worked out in the end. This year I'm giving them a tutu and a flick knife and I'm going to let them fight over who gets what. My money's on my nephew.
I also need to seriously start thinking about how I'm going to get my mum to talk to me again. I think it's really sad that she's so angry. I honestly thought she'd like the surprise of the 70ft inflatable Santa and sleigh I'd fixed to her roof. It wasn't my fault it was so windy that Santa took flight with the chimney, guttering and supporting wall of her bedroom, she should think of all the joy it's brought to the children who suddenly saw him go whizzing by their windows.
It also wasn't my fault he crash landed fifty miles away in that field full of cows.
I guess next year I'll just surprise her with the inflatable Joseph, Mary & baby Jesus . . . .