Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat.
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat.
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do.
If you haven’t got a ha’penny God bless you.
At one point in my early years, I had to learn this song. It was the scariest song, I’d ever heard yet it was connected to my favorite time of the year. The opening line declared that Christmas was on its way and was the perfect way to say goodbye to November. Enter December, I had all the ‘Christmassy’ things to look forward to. The change of atmosphere in the neighborhood was always evident, even the water tasted different. There were parties practically every weekend in December. Every visit to the city centre was made complete by the sight of ridiculously disproportionate Santas stationed at various shop entrances. Most of these shops had amateurishly painted windows and exaggerated displays yet this only built up my Christmas cheer.
Our house always got expertly decked out. Cartons of tinsel and crepe paper would find their way out of storage. As a child, I always thought that elves came to decorate the house but I later discovered that the elves were actually my elder sisters. Before I knew it, I was ‘the elf’.The best part of my ‘elfin’ duties was putting the star on the Christmas tree. It always felt like such an accomplishment. Come to think of it, it was!
Only when the tree was in place did the presents start piling. Everyday they’d be a few more. I’d take them, shake them, press them real hard in an attempt to figure out what was in each box. I had this little notebook where I’d keep count of how many presents everyone was getting. This was a sign that Christmas was coming. On the night before Christmas, I’d leave out cookies and milk for Santa. Since our house didn’t have a chimney, I always left the dining room window open for St. Nicholas to squeeze in.(I later found out that my mum doubled up as Santa)
Christmas morning would be the same every year. A huuuuuuuuuge Chocolate Cake and the finest things were always laid out for breakfast. I’d open my presents and let the day morph into whatever it wanted. There was no goose, no old man and no ha’penny.
(Somewhere along the way, the delightful feelings about Christmas have been replaced with ‘Oh-No-Not-Again’ feelings.)
Nevertheless, Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat!