Sunday 26 December 2010

Classy Cards and Gifts

Posh Caro Stow-Crat and middle-class Sam Upward say “Happy Christmas” and never write it Xmas, or use the word Yuletide. Eileen Weybridge and lower-middle-class Jen Teale write it Xmas and may say “Merry Christmas”. Howard Weybridge says “Compliments of the season!” Christian Teales carefully explain that it’s really Christ – Mass. (Upwards strike back with the info that X stands for Christ.

Sam and Caro give presents, Eileen and Jen give gifts. Harry Stow-Crat asks Caro what she wants: “Slosh, dosh or nosh?” (scent, money or food?). Sam gives everyone vouchers to build toilets in Ghana.

Sam wonders how long she should keep the jokey teapot from Eileen and Howard before giving it to the hospice shop. And she’s trying to hide the pungently scented candle decorated with pressed flowers that Jen’s given her. Jen can’t eat the misshapen fudge made by Sam’s children, delivered in a hand-made cardboard box, and feeds it to the pigeons.

Who was it who said that listening to Julie Andrews was like being hit over the head with a greetings card? Samantha sends cards with Gothic illuminations or nuns playing ice hockey—or else she puts an ad in the Times explaining she’ll be donating the money to help save the planet this year. But she writes “Season’s Greetings” inside the cards because she’s also sending them to her Muslim doctor, the Sikh couple in the corner shop, and some Jewish friends.

Sam listens to medieval Christmas music performed by Early Music groups. Gideon loves a good sing-song once a year and enjoys belting out Good King Wenceslas. Teales watch Songs of Praise and know all the words to Winter Wonderland and Let It Snow. The working-class Definitelies either ignore the whole thing and listen to Hip Hop, or join a Gospel choir.

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