How’s your Christmas shaping up? Turns out, when it comes to Christmas high jinks, festive frolics and some rather cheeky little anecdotes about the holidays ahead … some people have it all wrapped up.
So here’s the first of four sets of ‘Christmas Confessions’ – and some of these are real Crackers!
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When I was a teenager I used to babysit for my next door neighbours. The mother believed strongly in not lying about Father Christmas as she herself had apparently felt betrayed by the ‘deceit’.
When her three year old said to me, “Father Christmas doesn’t exist - does doesn’t he?” with a painfully hopeful expression on her face, I threw all my scruples to the wind. Without specifically saying her mother was wrong, I set out to instil enough doubt in her mind about Father Christmas’s lack of existence so that she could embrace the magic. When I went to sleep on Christmas Eve, I said, my stocking was empty. But when I woke up in the morning it was filled with presents. I explained that we put out a drink and a mince pie for Father Christmas (and a carrot for Rudoph), and that in the morning they were gone, and I also told her that one of my friends once heard the sleigh bells on Father Christmas’s sleigh one Christmas Eve so had to go to sleep straightaway to make sure he visited.
Everything I told her was true so I wasn’t lying (technically) but my conscience remained clear as I watched her grow up enjoying all the excitement of writing her Christmas list, putting out a mince pie and hanging up her stocking every Christmas Eve.
She would tell me all about the things Father Christmas had brought her and I like to believe that it was as a result of seeing how much joy the ‘lie’ brought to her daughter (and subsequently her younger sister) that the mother stopped telling her children Father Christmas didn’t exist and allowed them to enjoy one of the best things about being a child.
I also know that neither one felt betrayed when they discovered the truth – they told me I was very convincing in helping them ‘believe’!
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My confession? I was a tad untruthful with my daughter about the purpose of the ‘vet’s bedding’ she received as a wrapped present at Christmas a couple of years ago.
I told her it was a special type of carpet-like material to put under her mattress, which would keep her extra warm in the winter (and she believed me).
I just didn’t want her to realise she was getting the guinea pigs she’d been asking for, right until the end of gift-giving. This was nearly scuppered by friends arriving unexpectedly, one of whom was a second year student vet. When my daughter explained what the ‘vet bedding’ was for, our friend looked a little puzzled but was kind enough not to question it!
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One Christmas, many years ago in the small seaside town where I grew up, I met up with some old friends for a good old Christmas knees up, as was the tradition when we were all back in town for the festivities.
We met in our usual bar, but were unceremoniously thrown out when it transpired they’d forgotten to get a late licence and would be closing at 11pm.
The night was still young. So were we. And so we headed off to find somewhere else to continue our merriment. As we walked along the sea front, past the all hotels that lined the promenade, we saw a few parties in full swing. So we decided to try and blag our way in.
We managed to crash a swanky corporate party that was going on in the ‘ballroom’ of one of the establishments (they had a glitter ball up in one corner).
We ordered drinks and were surprised when we were not asked to part with any money for them by the bar staff, surely they’d just forgotten? It wasn’t possible my ‘colleagues’ Dan, Jason, Nigel and I (from accounts, if anyone asks), had managed to blag our way into a Christmas Do – complete with very generous free bar, was it?
It was. I’ve no idea which local business bankrolled our Christmas get together that night, but if they’re reading this – cheers!
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My daughter has never liked sprouts. She’s now 26 and nothing has changed. As good parents though, we always tried to get her to have just one, in all sorts of ingenious ways.
This has now become something a family tradition so, here’s a list of some of the ways we’ve ‘hidden’ those little green bundles of wholesome goodness to date:
· Buried inside a hollowed out roast potato
· Wrapped in bacon – a sprout in a blanket!
· Cooked inside a Yorkshire pudding
· As the winning ‘token’ in the Christmas pudding
· Smothered in chocolate and cocoa powder, hiding amongst the other truffles
· Recycled as a whole box of healthy Ferrero Rocher (she didn’t feel spoilt in the least)
· In the toe of her Christmas stocking, wrapped a chocolate tree treats
· Wrapped up in a ring box (she thought she was onto something special that year!)
· - and as the extra special prize in homemade crackers
You never know, it may give some other poor parents a bit of inspiration
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It was the second Christmas with my girlfriend and we’d been invited to Boxing day Dinner with her parents. It was a good, four-course dinner and they always eat early, so everything was finished by 4pm. Then we drove over to see my parents.
There we were, sitting watching TV, when Mum called us through and said, “Okay, I’ve set you two your places for dinner…”
What can you do. Out of politeness we tried to eat as much as we could: my girlfriend managed a couple of courses, and I finished three – but flaked out on the floor, to be woken by the dog 3 hours later, aching stomach and face covered in pen marks and makeup.
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When my son was about two years old, he was a massive Bob the Builder fan. With the help of Santa (of course), we bought him the full collection – Scoop, Muck, Dizzy and Rollie too. What I didn’t realise was the packaging on these darling little toys now has what feels like razorwire to secure it, and without Bob’s own toolbox, we had to break out the wire cutters. By 4am we’d finished getting the boxes open, with fingers that felt as though they’d been sanded within an inch of their knuckles. My son woke at 8am, much less the wiser…
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For years I kept buying my gran different bath sets. This went on for 15 years, every year she would say how lovely the set was and every year she’d say how she was looking forward to it. But five years previoulsy, she’d moved into sheltered housing and she didn’t have a bath but had a shower!
I used the toilet everytime I went in and didn’t twig what was happening, until the light dawned a couple of years ago. The response I got was fantastic, “Well, Betty in number 22 used to have a shower and now has a bath so her kids having being doing the same and buying the wrong stuff too. We all get together on 28th when the families aren’t around, and then swap presents. How do you think I got that back massager?”
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I’m sure we’ve all ‘accidentally’ eaten the chocolates off the tree and then quietly replaced them, sometimes several times over…
However, I got into deeper water by eating the children’s Advent calendars. I started working backwards from December the 24th, carefully resealing the doors so no-one could tell. I was only eating a few a day, but my crime was bound to catch-up with me eventually. I did manage to buy a couple of matching advent calendars as replacements but ate them on the way home. Whoops. It was a long commute in those days. It got to the 8th of December and they would find out on the 9th. They’d be mortified, as we always made a family event out of opening the doors.
I went shopping again – but there were hardly any left in the shops. In desperation I compromised, hoping they wouldn’t notice. I even had the presence of mind to eat all the chocolates up to that day. Epic fail.
They may only have been aged 3 and 5 but the boys definitely smelt a rat when Thomas the Tank Engine became Noddy and Superman became My Little Pony!
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Growing up, my Mum and Dad hosted Christmas Day for all the family. Due to the number of people my brother and I would often eat our Christmas lunch in the lounge. Both of us had a serious dislike for vegetables, particularly sprouts, but my Mum insisted on us eating these before we could finish our dinner.
So. Towards the end of the meal my brother and I would kindly offer to clear away the Christmas cracker wrappers. Little did my parents know, we filled them first with vegetables.
We got away with this for several years until we came up with the idea of also burying the vegetables in the Christmas tree bucket. That was fine, until the New Year, when my dad cleared out the tree and discovered a load of rotten carrots and sprouts in the mud.
Not best pleased – that’s one way of putting it…
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Last year, I went on and on about an awesome Yule log I’d once made with my Mum and how yummy it was.
My office insisted I make one again for them all to taste. When I tried though, I failed miserably – and turend out a Christmas Yule mess! I shop-bought one and made a few ‘adjustments’ to make it look handmade to avoid anyone being disappointed and too many ‘I told you so’s. My scheme worked and I got some great compliments!
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Check back in the next few days – we’ll be ‘stock-ing’ up on more Christmas Crackers then!