James et Moi at Christmas


I try.  I try my best but my brother James will just not get on board with Christmas.  He thinks it’s

My Christams tree

an ‘over-commercialised excuse to eat and drink in excess.’  His exact words, which are usually uttered round about the end of November.  This year I thought I’d take a different approach. 

‘Let’s do Christmas the French way,’ I said.  ‘Even better,’ I said, ‘would be to go to France for Christmas,’ I said. 
It was a Saturday morning and he was at my house, as usual, reading his paper.  I thought I’d picked an appropriate moment, but then, from behind the newsprint came a groan.
‘Over-commercialised excuse to eat and drink in excess in French,’ he said.  But I was prepared for this.
‘Hmm no it’s not, actually.  We could do Le Révellion on Christmas Eve.  That would be different.’  
He put the paper down.  ‘Revvie what?’
‘Le Révellion,’ I corrected.  ‘It’s a special meal that is traditionally served on Christmas Eve and includes things like foi gras, or escargot or-‘
‘Snails!  I’m not eating those slimy little things!’
‘Well I could replace them with smoked salmon I suppose,’ I said trying to be helpful.  ‘But the main course would be goose or a capon stuffed with chestnuts-‘
‘Goose!’  The paper was discarded to the floor.  ‘Goose!  But I don’t like goose.’
I ploughed on regardless; I was so determined to have a different Christmas.  ‘Then we could do dessert like they do in Provence,’ I said.  ‘Lei tretze dessèrts.  That’s Occitan for thirteen desserts.’
‘What’s wrong with Christmas pudding and rum sauce?’  At this point his face was completely drained of all colour.
‘But you like your puddings,’ I said, ‘and when we’re in France you go into every single pâtisserie and buy a cake or pastry.  I just thought that Christmas French-style might be something we could both enjoy that would be different.’
He picked up his paper and flexed it back into shape.  ‘I don’t like eating late and what’s wrong with your Henry the second stuffing and turkey?’
So, here I am, menu decided.  Smoked salmon, turkey and all the usual trimmings followed by Christmas pudding and rum sauce.  That’s the big day sorted.  However, what James still doesn’t know is that he left his wallet here by mistake on Saturday.  So I popped down the shops and on Christmas Eve I will be having my own celebration of Le Révellion with half a lobster, a few oysters, some foi gras and a bûche de noël to follow.  His Christmas present to me this year!

I think another glass of merlot is required and then I just need Mr Claus to arrive – that’s the tall dark handsome one, not the old guy in the red suit – and some snow!

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