It’s a truth universally acknowledged that men ain’t shit but as it’s the season of goodwill to all men and I’m feeling full of Christmas spirit, I decided to look back on some festive moments over the years when in fact, maybe my exes weren’t so bad after all.
You won’t find any of the ruined birthdays, disappointing Christmas presents, or various other let downs here but trust me there were plenty of those – including my very own Alan Rickman/Emma Thompson in Love Actually moment.
Instead of holding grudges though, here’s some of the times the men in my life brought a little Christmas cheer my way; enough to make me remember it with a smile.
The Trudge Through the Snow
Setting the bar high for all future boyfriends, when I was 15 my teenage sweetheart walked 7 miles to my house in the snow on Christmas Day with a present for me.
Sadly my mum didn’t let him in the house, which is not very Christmassy of her (she never likes anyone), so after a brief kiss under the plastic mistletoe from Woolies, he set off again into the cold.
I wasn’t a hard done by kid by any means (ask my friend Claire about my three storey Barbie house and she’ll confirm this) but there’s always some unfulfilled Christmas wish that never leaves you. In my case it was Mr Frosty, the snowman shaped slushy maker that was all the rage when I was little. I must have been quite vocal about this for a number of years afterwards because one Christmas, when the toy had been re-released, my boyfriend bought one for me as a present, making all my childhood dreams come true.
Unfortunately it turned out to be quite shit (the penguin sauce bottle wasn’t even black and white ffs – it was blue?!) and there is probably a moral in there somewhere about being careful what you wish for. But as they say: it’s the thought that counts.
If like me you’ve had periods in your life where you’ve not been invited to a big Christmas night out – perhaps you’ve been out of work, are raising a family, or work alone so have no real workmates – then you might know what it’s like to suffer a bad case of Christmas FOMO.
That’s why when someone cared enough to organise a Christmas night out with a gang of us to make me happy, it meant a lot. There was Secret Santa (although admittedly he did take the administration of this a bit too seriously), a three course meal with obligatory Christmas crackers, and staying out in a sequinned outfit (me not him) until the early hours.
The Festive Period
Sometimes you just want to do the whole couple thing and stay indoors wrapped up feeling Christmassy. Believe it or not, I do have a soft side too, and so it would seem did my fella. We stayed in a cosy hotel suite all weekend, away from the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping and everyone on nights out, and didn’t get out of bed the whole time.
I had mentioned I’d been in the mood just to watch Harry Potter and cuddle, so he brought all the Harry Potter films to date to watch, and we ate pizza in bed and forgot about the outside world.
That is to say, I didn’t get out of bed the whole time – unfortunately for him, he was on errands duty and had to go out to get me some Always Ultra when I was caught by surprise. This explained my foul mood for the whole weekend.[If you should ever happen to read this one day, I’m so so sorry. K bye]
The Night Before Christmas
Way back during a period of my life that I diplomatically refer to as the Wilderness Years I used to run pubs and one year I was working Christmas Eve. It had its good points, as all pubs do, but this wasn’t a glamorous job by any means. I worked long hours on my own in a dingy basement bar, was frequently raided by the police, had to clean up bodily fluids on an almost daily basis, and I permanently smelled of ashtrays.
The best I could hope for this Christmas Eve was getting everyone out at closing time without having to call any of the emergency services, before cashing up, cleaning, and then hoping my ropey old car would make it through the snow across the country to my parents’ house.
My on/off boyfriend of many years, who didn’t get many things right in our time together but would later prove himself to be a good friend when I was in need, showed up at my work at teatime that Christmas Eve. He took over my shift with his friends so I could go home to celebrate Christmas with my family. The till was down horribly by Boxing Day of course, and it turns out you can’t get blood out of the green baize of a pool table but it was still one of my best early Christmas presents ever.
As for a happy Christmas ending, well I didn’t get it with any of them. All of them had asked to marry me at one point or other, the mad bastards, but I’m sure they survived without me. There was only one of them who I would have ever wanted to spend all my Christmases with.
Life’s too short to hold grudges where no harm was done but things just didn’t work out. So to them, and to you, Happy Ex-Mas.