Lights are up. Crooked, mind you — but at least all the bulbs work. The tree also stands; aided by careful use of string and a nail. Snow forts and snow men guard the front yard. Wood is now chopped for the evening fire.
Everything seems in order, and the holidays — largely consumed with family outings, cursing your way through “easy-to-assemble” toys, and Aunt Edith’s homemade eggnog that tests the stability of even the most sturdy stomachs — have commenced.
But amidst the Mimosas, rum cake, and Immodium, pockets of time exist where the old man gets to put his feet up.
The Christmas Lay-About is an easily-perfected method. It requires few, if any, new accessories and is driven mostly by nostalgia. A drink of choice in hand (Hendrick’s gin and tonic, for me), obnoxious-colored socks, maybe an arbitrary bowl of Christmas oranges or a plate of mincemeat tarts. And of course the desire to be sedentary.
The process goes something like this:
- Pick a suitable block of time, preferably 2 hours, where Christmas sweaters are not required (but optional).
- Find those comfy pants that should have been tossed out last Christmas and slide them on. Requisite old-school rocker shirt also ideal.
- Fix said favorite drink and a plate of “it’s Christmas so what the hell” treats.
- Find most comfortable spot on couch and inform anyone within proximity that you have claimed it as your own (chest thumping might help).
- Two-fold option here: rummage around and find a) old favorite movies you like to watch every year (maybe Paul Newman in Nobody’s Fool or Terrence Malick’s The New World) or b) old music otherwise left aside (Pearl Jam’s Yield, The Beatles The White Album, or Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road).
The rest is self-explanatory. Eyes half-closed until one of your children invariably land an errant knee. A small grin of satisfaction.
The kids may look up at you from serious play with their toys.
“Is daddy drunk again, Mommy?” they’ll ask.
“He’s just sleepy,” she’ll reply. “Don’t bother him now.”
And she’ll take the glass from your hand before your chin sags into the lime rind, pull up a cozy blanket to your chin, and maybe — just maybe — take a photo for future blackmail.
Harry Tournemille wishes you all some Christmas Lay-About.