Guess who’s back … back again? The flipping elf is who. And to make matters worse, she’s getting such VIP treatment around here, including weekend lie-ins, that I’m afraid we’ll never see the back of her
• HOW many of us have welcomed the festive elf back into our homes for the coming weeks? I think I’ve mentioned here before how I’m not a fan of overnight guests, so you can imagine how I feel about having someone stay for the best part of a month. Exactly. We’ve had our elf for around two years now. My husband, unprompted, picked her up on his way home from work one day. That’s still something I’m getting my head around, to be honest. Anyway, I figured it might be time to give our little elf a change of scene this year, a chance to see some new faces, new opportunities for devilment, other people’s toilet rolls to unravel, freshen things up sort-of-thing. I was purely thinking of her as I feared we may not have the ‘bandwidth/head space’ to deal with her (going forward). My motives were entirely selfless I assure you. And then ... joy of joys! Being the clever, intuitive elf that she is, she was thinking the exact same thing! A most gorgeous, heartfelt letter typed by her good ‘s-elf’ arrived in our postbox last week, where she outlined her plans to spend the festive season with another family … on another continent. She said it wasn’t us, it was her, we’d still be friends, that she’d see us around etc. Wasn’t that gas all the same?
• She even included a little gift with her letter, just something small that also happened to be an item my husband had his eye on. I mean what were the chances! For around 10 whole minutes the world was good. A rosie hue settled all around. Suddenly, December was looking a whole lot more manageable. Then the mood shifted. Once the initial excitement of finding a letter addressed to her in the postbox had died down, the six year old started to pick holes in the situation. For starters, the present wasn’t very child-friendly, she said. She may have had a point. And apparently she had been waiting the whole year to be reunited with her elf, and there was no way I could understand how much it all meant to her. Clearly not, judging by the tears that started and didn’t stop. That heartless elf (ahem) clearly misjudged this situation badly. A festive f*** up of the highest order. There was nothing for it. Santa was going to have to put things right. As we all know, the man himself can tune into any of our homes at this time of year so looking skywards (at the kitchen ceiling) we sent out an emotional appeal to get Elfie back. Pronto. And what do you know? Less than an hour later we found her propped up on a chair, looking like butter wouldn’t melt, with a note saying ‘Santa says sorry! Give my gift to your dad.’ The joyful scenes we’ll be seeing on our TVs shortly of people being reunited at airports from far flung corners of the globe had nothing on this. The rosie hue settled all around again, and I went off to have a little lie down, reminding myself in the words of Oasis, that sometimes, you just gotta roll with it. So she’s here now until the 25th, and so far I’ve only threatened to put her in the bin around 15 times. We’ve also laid down some strict house rules that Elfie needs to conserve her energy and have a lie-in at weekends. December is a marathon, and not a sprint!
• Anyway, in an act of public service, and to promote peace and harmony in households across West Cork, if anyone is wondering what to get the middle-aged woman in their life this Christmas, here’s my top, easy-to-organise, and entirely free, suggestion: get everyone (including the dog and the elf if she’s still hanging around) to leave the house and take them far away (or at least out of earshot) and leave the middle aged female in your life at home, alone, in blissful, solitary silence. Did I say alone? It doesn’t matter if someone has forgotten their water bottle, their hat, even a shoe, pledge in writing that no one will come home or make any contact unless it’s a life or death situation for a minimum of say, five hours. Or at least long enough to watch the Motherland Christmas special. Few things make me laugh out loud and this does it for me every single episode. That is almost what I’m looking forward to most over the holidays. That and all the lovely memories we’ll make, of course. Anyway, I promise you this gift will go down an absolute treat. Either that or a voucher for a non-invasive neck lift in a discreet Swiss clinic. Actually, now that I see it written down before me, just go with the neck lift in the Swiss clinic.
• And my general tip specifically for the men of West Cork to avoid getting a half-peeled Brussel sprout thrown at their head is this: Don’t ask what are ‘we’ getting for your mother/ godchild/sister on Christmas Eve, at 5.30pm, by which time it’s already wrapped, and more than likely delivered. Please. Don’t do that. That is guaranteed to make us crazy, off-the-scale mad, and you don’t want that, now do you?
• Finally, we had our first outing in two years to the Opera House panto last weekend. It’s Sleeping Beauty, and it’s panto at its best. Some of my best and most vivid childhood memories revolve around the panto and my first official crush was the cabaret singer Tony Kenny after he played Buttons in Cinderella in the early 80s. It’s something my siblings still like to tease me about! The dirty eejits! We thoroughly enjoyed this year’s show… and so did Elfie who came along for the spin. We’re showing her such a great time between nights out and sleep-ins, I’m afraid we’ll never get rid of her. Sure, it really is the most wonderful time of the year.