Christmas A – Z… “E”

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Is for…

Easter Eggs: These arrive on the shelves of our supermarkets on Boxing Day, along with Easter themed tins of Quality Street and Roses etc. If your kids aren’t too fussed about the design on the tin and you’re feeling a bit thrifty the Christmassy Quality Street in the bargain aisle next door can be had for 99p a pop, a saving of around six pounds on the ‘regular’ price (but only four pounds on the price that every supermarket has sold them at since 1997). Don’t forget to check the sell by. But I digress; back to Easter eggs and Boxing Day…

The Cadbury’s creme eggs, of course, and other variations on their sickly-sweet filled egg theme, form the advance guard of the chocolate egg world and will have been in situ since around July. Taking a leaf from the book of marketing strategies employed by the likes of M(ade)F(or)I(diots) and the sofa warehouse in regard to their ‘Clearance sales’ there are now only around two weeks of the year when these hideously saccharine confections creme eggaren’t available. Despite this, their arrival in the shops after the aforementioned fortnight’s hiatus is still greeted like the second coming of Christ.

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ECG: Electocardiogram – a piece of medical equipment you may find yourself hooked up to in early January if you overdo the mince pies, marzipan dates and Quality Street over the festive period.

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Ectoplasm: Often overlooked in seasonal A to Z’s but Scrooge’s place must have been swimming in the stuff by the third night. I’ve heard that a cold water and salt solution is best for getting it off the carpets, but I wouldn’t try it on a hardwood floor.

pinke elephant*

Elephant, Pink: See “Hangover”, “Heffalumps and Woozles”, and “Ice”.

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Elephant, White: The stall most of your Christmas presents will end up on at the school summer fete.

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Elves: ‘Christmas is really for the kids’ they say, so where would Christmas be without Santa’s elves? Up poo creek without a proverbial is the answer, because without elves there would be no toys and without toys Christmas would just be another boring bank holiday and the kids would be climbing the walls. They’re going to be climbing the walls anyway – hyped up on Quality Street, fizzy pop, gingerbread, candy canes, Turkish delight and other various sugar-coated sweetmeats – but without the toys to distract ‘em the holiday would be like Armageddon (no ‘Armageddon out of here jokes, please).  Of course technically Christmas is all about the ikkle baybee Jesus and the nativity and stuff, but let’s not get bogged down with technicalities or overlook the fact that the ‘peace and goodwill’ message isn’t reserved exclusively for the fish-eaters at this time of year. But I digress. As is my wont. Back to the elves…

Elves, are the life blood of Santa’s workshop. There may be a few trolls or goblins working in the despatch office or manning the phones (there usually are), but when it comes to the factory floor the elf is your man. Or your elf, to be strictly accurate. Nobody quite knows where the elf picked up his toy making skills – certainly if you read your Tolkien they are historically more often associated with silversmithing and jewellery making (let’s overlook the arms dealing for now – it is Christmas after all) – but whether the product of in-house training or a natural bent they certainly know their onions.

Sadly the elf’s traditional skillset has taken a back seat over the centuries. Long gone are the days when a set of wooden building blocks would satisfy your five year old, and more’s the pity. But elves seem to have adapted well, turning their hands from turning their lathes to master advanced injection moulding techniques and the technicalities of the high-tech circuit board. Which is just as well, because with all the competition from cheap foreign imports produced by half starved children in third world sweatshops Santa must be hard pushed to keep production and quality targets consistent while maintaining an ethically sound working environment and business model. At least, I hope that’s what Santa is doing (?). The thought of those poor little buggers working round the clock shifts on zero hours contracts at minimum wage is just too depressing. Or even worse, perhaps the whole of Santa’s empire is now staffed under work(un)fare schemes , and the poor little blighters are slaving away for nothing more than access to the benefits they need to keep them from complete and abject poverty. Perhaps they should have stuck to silversmithing and arms dealing?

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Empty Threat: Something parents make to unruly children in the lead-up to Christmas in hopes of controlling their behaviour, citing Santa and the expectation of presents as conditional clauses. This time-honoured tradition continues to this day, despite overwhelming evidence that it is about as effective in the long-term control of undesirable behaviours as blackmail with sweets or ‘giving in for a quiet life.’

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epsom saltsEpsom Salts: Put them on your shopping list. Now. You know it makes sense. See “Purgative”.

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