My memory of Christmas is when my younger cousin, Aidan, said that he wanted to leave a mince pie and a glasis boy was tws of milk out for Santa Claus. Bear in mind that this boy was twelve. Twleve. I giggled nervously and hoped that he was just joking. I turned around to see him looking at me inquisitively, wondering why I was laughing. I said to him sceptically, "Aid, you do know Santa's not real, yeah?"
At that moment, Aidan's face drained of all colour, his eyes filled with tears and his shoulders slumped forward as though he was carrying a heavy schoolbag, and he ran out of the room crying so hard. He sounded as though he was in real pain. The guilt I felt may have been the worst feeling I've had in my life.
The drawing room. The place where it all happens, the room that has that Christmas smell,'t
the room that is Christmas.
I can't describe that smell. That foresty smell you get from the tree. The smell of burning logs, the smell of crisp paper. And the strong smell of my Granny's Chanel perfume.
The sound of the crackling sparks on the fire. The sound of my grandparents talking to Mum about something she has no interest in. The sound of my Dad hysterically laughing about something, having had a few too many glasses of wine. The sound of my brother blabbering on about the latest rugby match, and the sound of my sisters gossiping about celebrities. The sound of paper being torn in desperation to see what surprises await them. The sound of my dogs playing with each other and their claws scraping on the carpet.
This is Christmas to me.
Old toys you once craved
Now lie still in the attic,
White dolls, grinning faces,
Matte with dust.
Boxes of lights
Green, white, now left for nothing,
Not used since times past.
Get them out if you must
And hang them downstairs
So the neighbours will think that
This year, you'll pretend that