“I’ve made you a present, Mrs Jellywoman. Can I put it under the tree?”
I’ve gone into halo production with a queue of Reception children in enormous white t-shirts, white tights and black plimsolls (the footwear of choice in the angel community) waiting to be beatified, ready for that afternoon’s Nativity play. Owen – already dressed to give the world his Second Innkeeper – has appeared at my elbow holding two toothpaste boxes glued together at right-angles.
“Well, thank you Owen. What is it?” He looks a little disappointed that I’ve had to ask, but patiently answers, “It’s a cross.”
“Of course it is. Silly me.”
“It’s for when you die,” he adds, earnestly. He carefully opens the flap of one of the boxes. “Your body goes in there.”
“How thoughtful,” I laugh. “Yes – of course you can put it under the tree. I promise I won’t use it till Christmas.”
“Right,” says LittleBruv, topping up his port. “Organise the numbers, LegoBoy.”
My nephew starts tearing paper, while the rest of us make space on the table. Remains of Christmas pudding, turkey and nut-loaf are hidden in the kitchen to worry about later. I rescue a small pile of cracker remnants which are bound to come in useful at school for … something.
We top up the coffee and liqueur. Nieces Ezza, Rezza and Hezza haul in the presents from a sack – well, Ikea bag – in the hallway. YoungLochinvar and InfantPhenomenon heap them onto the middle of the table. And then we are ready to start the Annual Ritual of Extravagance and Delight which is the Naff Presents Game.