By Nina Zietman
For the first time in my life, I don’t know what I want for Christmas. When I was younger, I always placed ‘A Dog’ at the top of my list to Father Christmas, alongside a remote control car (I’d seen Home Alone 3 one too many times) and The Beano Annual. This might seem a bit of a strange list for an eleven-year old girl; however, it was my sister’s job to ask for Barbies and Polly Pockets. Now it’s Christmas 2010 and I don’t know what I want. So far I’ve indulged in all the typical Christmas routines, such as eating a whole box of mince pies, washed down with a bottle of mulled wine. I’ve discussed that yuletide brainteaser: why don’t mince pies contain meat? Listened to the obligatory 70s Christmas tunes and politely conversed with the old man in the Post Office queue about my Christmas plans. But something’s missing.
I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m no longer eleven-years old, or down to the fact that Father Christmas is now a distant memory, but something about Christmas just isn’t the same anymore. My half-written Christmas list so far consists of the new Jamie Oliver recipe book and a pair of gloves. It’s starting to look scarily like a forty-year old woman’s wish list. For some reason, this year I don’t really want to eat my advent calendar chocolate in the morning; it makes me feel kind of sick. That excited feeling I used to get in my stomach is now replaced with…well…nothing. It’s what my Mum would quite aptly call ‘growing up’. In true Peter Pan-style, I feel the need to cry out, “But I don’t want to grow up!”
This baffling notion of adulthood hit me like a double-decker bus the other day, when shop-assistant pointed at me and said, “That woman over there…” Woman! I thought, but I’m a girl! It turns out that twenty-one year olds are no longer girls. We are counted as fully-fledged adult members of
society that pay electricity bills and don’t eat peanut butter out of the jar.
I swear, inside, I don’t feel any different to the girl in junior school who used to think MSN Messenger was the height of cool (okay, some things have changed since then). But at the same time, it seems my Christmas list is slowly beginning to resemble my future (old) self.
I would say that Christmas, however, is the one time of year when you are allowed to indulge in childish behavior. It’s okay if you want to spend all day watching “The Muppet Christmas Carol” and playing Mario Kart – it’s Christmas! You can eat your body-weight in chocolate and actually enjoy playing Monopoly, and no one will judge you. Even if you are beaten by a nine-year old. Wearing pyjamas ‘til noon is a given (not that we don’t do that anyway…) and family arguments are just that bit more…festive.
It’s like when you used to complain to your parents that it was ‘unfair’ that they had Mother’s and Father’s Day; why isn’t there a Children’s Day? I’ve worked it out. It has become quite obvious in my old age, that Christmas Day is Children’s Day. Just take a look at your uncle playing on the floor with a Thomas the Tank Engine train set. For one day only, adults are given a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card from the grind of daily responsibilities, and get to join in with possibly the best day ever invented for children.
So, I’ve come to a conclusion. I’ve finally decided what I want for Christmas, apart from a recipe book, gloves and possibly a life. And maybe a White Company candle. What I really want, more than anything is, the ‘Golden Eye’ game on the Wii. A classic game of our youth, and definitely a sign that my inner eleven-year old self is still lurking in there somewhere.