Nice Christmas?

As soon as the calendar hits the 27th of December, the above greeting becomes the standard conversational opening gambit, here in the UK. Everyone from your next-door neighbour, to the lady at the checkout, will immediately inquire, “Nice Christmas?”

Answering this seasonal greeting is an art in itself. The last thing that they want to hear is that you had a bad Christmas, or didn’t even bother to celebrate it. They have no interest in the presents you received, or those you bought for others. They don’t care if the turkey was ruined, or you were held up in traffic somewhere. It is just something to say. Over the years, you learn that the accepted response is very simple. You answer something like, “Yes, thanks, it was very busy.” Or, ” I was glad when it was over, but it was nice to see everyone.” Avoid at all costs the leading reply, “Very nice thanks, how about you?” They may not know the rules, and you could be in for a detailed list of events and happenings lasting much longer than you anticipated.

The beetleypete Christmas was busier than usual, as you are asking…

We had a constant run, from Christmas Eve, through to the 28th. Calling in on neighbours, family staying over, and nine for dinner on the 27th. A house full of presents, toys, and guests, including our very lively one-year old grandson. This didn’t leave much time for blogging, so no posts until now, and replies and comments have been few and far between too. There were some successes. A huge inflatable bed, purchased to save people sleeping on sofas, actually behaved itself, and worked. It inflated itself electronically when required, and deflated in the same fashion too. Yesterday, it even packed away into the bag supplied, with no need for fits of temper.

The turkey cooked to perfection, and we managed to serve everyone dinner at the agreed time, with no disasters. Despite purchasing what I was sure would be too much food, we were surprisingly left with very little, and the leftover turkey will make a nice curry tomorrow. My presents were all of a high standard. I was pleased to receive ‘Amy'(2015) on DVD, as well as ‘Wooden Crosses'(1932) on Blu-Ray. I will look forward to watching them, after the end of the festive season. I was also lucky to be given some very nice wines, including some Port, a personal favourite. Arguments and disagreements were minimal, and soon forgotten, and even all the driving and travel arrangements of our guests went without a hitch. If this all sounds too good to be true, you might be asking yourself if there were any downsides. That’s where Ollie comes in.

Ollie might tell you (if he could talk) that having lots of guests might be alright for a while, but then it starts to wear him out. Especially when one of them is at the same height, and follows him around at all times. His normal resting spots are occupied by toys, doors he likes to lie across keep being opened, and his normal routine is completely upside down. On the plus side, he has definitely had more treats, and feasted on turkey scraps too. He has had a few late nights, but his walks have stayed the same, and his mealtimes haven’t been affected. Some of the rooms he likes to investigate have had their doors closed, which he has found disconcerting, and his morning sleeps have just not been possible. But he is still young, and will enjoy the peace, when it returns.

Well, that’s Christmas 2015 done and dusted. A quiet New Year’s Eve is on the agenda, hopefully. As you might guess, I do have one question to ask all of you, and feel free to reply in the comments.

Nice Christmas?


28 thoughts on “Nice Christmas?

  1. Was that an aero bed Pete? Thinking of investing as slept on one a few times and it was really comfy and stayed up!
    Your comments about ‘good christmas?’ Made me laugh – so true!
    Wish you, Julie and Ollie a great year ahead. Thanks for being amazing! X


    1. I will send you a link to the one we bought. It was a good price from Amazon, and free postage. But it is remarkably deep!
      My love and best wishes for a happy 2016 to you, and to all your family. I had a read of your dad’s blog last week, great to imagine him saying the words on the page. xx


  2. Your Christmas sounds very nice. I won’t go into any details in a public forum, but suffice it to say that I had one of the worst Christmas Days in memory.

    I will say that perhaps the best Christmas Day I ever spent was in 1994 at the Cimetière américain de Suresnes (Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial). I had a modest feast with the officer in charge and his female staff member. I visited the cemetery often during my 15-month stay in Paris, and had the privilege of helping lower and fold the American flag on more than one occasion. I also had the great pleasure of reading the entries in the guest book from time to time, and this always brought tears to my eyes. Most of the comments were written by French citizens who were grateful towards the soldiers for their sacrifice. Suresnes, by the way, is a western suburb of Paris, and its cemetery is “home” to the remains of 1,541 American soldiers from both world wars, but mostly from WWI. The white crosses of the handful of WWII dead are themselves arranged in a cross formation.

    I am, of course, very pleased to hear about your holiday gathering. I wish you and Julie…and Ollie…a very happy 2016. I look forward to reading more blog posts about everyday life in Beetley.


    1. Sorry to hear about one of your worst Christmas Days, David. The memories of those past ones are nice to have though.
      I wish you success with your writing, lyrics, and limericks in 2016, and hope that you have a happy year ahead. Thanks for all your valued contributions to my blog during 2015.
      Very best wishes, Pete.


      1. We actually won’t be together. I’m in South Africa for a wedding and my grandmother’s 90th birthday but he couldn’t get the time off unfortunately so he’s back in London. It’s been great reading your blog. Happy New Year!


  3. I’ve been the hostess-with-the-mostess running the Cindy Hotel to extended family, grown children, and grands. I’ve spent way too much $ and today is the first day I’ve had a chance to breath with some personal time as the guests are out on a exploratory adventure on their own. I have enjoyed every moment. It’s nice, however, to put my own music on in an empty house and say hello to you! Happy New Year, Cindy


  4. It makes a change from the weather. I find that people who are careless with their opening gambits will often use up both Christmas and the weather in the same conversation.

    Happy New year to you.


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