Christmas with kids is great. You get to re-live the best parts of your own childhood and mix it up by creating your own Christmas traditions. There’s the magical glitter reindeer food on the lawn, a festive mojito left out for Santa on Christmas eve (I'd already polished off all the sherry that particular year), and the ‘traditional’ Lindor chocolates in the stocking that replaced the cheap and nasty gold coins that no one likes anyway. It’s all lovely, super, fun, great…
And then come The Teenage Years, and you wonder why the merry hell you even had kids because now you have entered an altogether new and unchartered territory with children who appear to no longer be yours but instead have morphed into what can only be described as the love child of Beelzebub and Donald Trump; arrogant, entitled, egotistical, and liberally sprinkled with outrageous delusions of grandeur bordering on serious personality disorder. Yep, Christmas with teens was solely invented so that instead of nostalgically weeping into your sherry during the Yuletide, regretful that in just a few years they will have fledged and you will be left pathetically scattering the glittery reindeer food alone in the freezing garden on Christmas Eve with only the cat to tell that you think you heard the bells on Santa’s sleigh coming this way; you are instead, knocking back the shiraz and herbal calms pills counting the months until they piss off to Uni and you can bugger off to Thailand for Christmas and not have to grit your teeth and count to 10 every time your teen sighs, huffs, shrugs or rolls their eyes at you again.
“Is there anything you really want for Christmas this year?” I tentatively ask The Teens. The 17 year old teen is unresponsive, not looking up from his phone where he’s fully embroiled in 27 group Messenger chats with 5 thousand close friends whilst watching a YouTube compilation of the best gifs of 2017. I take a deep breath and ask again. He looks up, glares, and pulls one earphone out his ear; “Huh?”
“I said, is there anything you’d like for Christmas?”
“Nah, not really.”
“Well, you need to think of something otherwise you won’t get anything.”
“I said, surely there is something you would like for Christmas?” I smile a tight-lipped smile. My eyes are not smiling though. They are boring into The Teen who snickers at a particularly amusing meme someone has posted on one of his group Messenger chats.
“I’d like a car for Christmas.”
My eyebrows launch themselves off my forehead and into orbit as lasers shoot out my unsmiling eyes and I take another deep breath, making a mental note to order more rum to get me through the Christmas holidays. I tell myself it's acceptable to be drunk on rum on Christmas morning because rum is festive. Pirates drink rum and they are known to be particularly festive people. Well, they're always drunk anyway.
“A car? But you can’t drive. You haven’t even taken driving lessons yet. And how would you pay for the insurance and tax and petrol and general upkeep of a car as you haven’t bothered getting a weekend job since you left your summer job?!?”
“How much is insurance?” sniffs The Teen, nonchalantly.
“More than you can afford if you haven’t got a weekend job.”
“You could get me the insurance and tax for my birthday.”
“And you could get a weekend job and pay for it yourself.” “If you want me to pass my A levels then I can’t work at weekends as I’m too busy studying.”
“Like now? Busy studying like you are now?”
The Teen rolls his eyes at me and I walk out to find my phone and the Headspace app which might stop me from screaming. Gone are the days of fart whistles and Tweenies annuals.
Sometime later I find the other teen in the kitchen.
“Any idea what you’d like for Christmas?” I brightly ask the 15 year old, who is fortifying himself with a huge bowl of cereal before he goes back to Snapchatting and fighting alien zombies on his computer.
“Oh, yes, a Bitcoin, please.”
“A Bitcoin? Umm, anything else? Trainers, maybe?”
“No, just a Bitcoin, please.”
I wander off tapping into my iphone. A quick Google reveals that 1 Bitcoin is currently worth £10,734.10. But at least he said please.
Lego and Lindor just really aren’t going to cut it this year, but i console myself with the thought that at least I don't have to sit in a freezing cold church watching them play shepherds in the school nativity anymore...