Kings: Whether selling ladies’ underwear in Leicester square at bargain prices (‘only a penny a pair’), riding on scooters bibbing their hooters, or following (yonder) stars on camels, kings play a significant role in our Christmas traditions and nativities.
When my son was little he hoped to grab a role as one of the kings in the infant’s nativity play. Initially he had wanted to play Jesus, thinking it would be the star turn, and was extremely disappointed when the part went to Chloe Fuller’s Tiny Tears™. I explained to him that he was a bit old for the role – even at five – and that he would never fit in the manger, but he was never really happy. He thought at the very least that Jesus should be played by a boy doll, and offered his Hawkeye Action Man Commando™ up for the role, but of course the scale was all wrong. Ben thought this was sizist, but eventually accepted that all things considered it wasn’t really the right part for Action Man anyway, what with him being a gung-ho balls-out death machine and Jesus being a turn-the-other-cheek pacifist.
Resigning himself to the fact that the part of Jesus wasn’t right for him or Action Man, Ben set his sights on one of the coveted Three King roles, but alas this also was not meant to be. He was finally cast as ‘An innkeeper’ (due to a paucity of roles and a surfeit of players many minor parts originally intended for individual characters – including that of the innkeeper – were played, in the classic Greek tradition by the “Chorus”), swapping his Golden Crown of Cardboard and Foil for a tea-towel and elastic headband.
Chloe Fuller, perhaps in recompense for the loan of her Tiny Tears, was cast as the Virgin Mary, a role that, with hindsight, offers endless opportunities for comedic exploitation.
Angels were suitably angelic, and this may be the reason why Ben wasn’t chosen. While undoubtedly beautiful and fine featured at that time his range of ‘stims’ and his inability to stand still for more than thirty seconds counted against him. He was also going through a phase when, egged on by his classmates, he would cheerfully moon at the girls in the class for the amusement of his (fair-weather) “friends”. Such is life for a five-year-old with a social communication disorder, or, come to that, for many autistic adults who, while hopefully aware enough to have quit the mooning, will still find themselves the naive and unwitting butt of many a “joke” from people who really should know better. But I digress. Again…
No, Ben was no angel and isn’t now, but he was and is a wonderful kid whose innate kindness and consideration is sometimes marred by a lack of awareness regarding when he should be kind and considerate and to whom. I am a very lucky dad to have him, and I will take this opportunity to apologise for all of the moaning and nagging and inconsistent parenting and tell him so. *wub*
Another famous Christmas king, of course, is that pizza loving all-round good egg, Wenceslas, who set out on Boxing day (or the day after Boxing day, depending on where you live) with his trusty manservant to ensure that a poor peasant he had spotted from the window of his toasty-warm bedroom got a decent Christmas dinner. Personally, I would have just sent the manservant and stayed indoors in the warm – I’m all for charity but there’s a limit, and I’m not good with cold weather at the best of times – but give credit where credit’s due ol’ GKW had the right idea even if he did overdo it a bit. I’ll be doing my GKW bit this Christmas by giving a few quid to Shelter and another few quid to my local food bank, Nourish. Sadly, I don’t have anywhere near the kind of ackers that a king might have, but every little helps. If you’re a king, or as rich as one, please give generously. If a lowly peasant like me, please give what you can afford. Winter kills, as Yazoo once sang, and you can help. Thank you.
Knitwear: I was going to write a few paragraphs about hideous Christmas jumpers I have known, novelty (possibly musical) socks, and the Rise of the Onesie, but on realising I’ve typed almost 800 words on K already have decided to hit pause. This would probably have segued into memories of Val Doonican Shows I endured as a child and perhaps even turned into a rant against the evil that is Noel Edmonds. I may come back to Hideous Christmas Jumpers and other forms of knightmare nitware another day – possibly under “M for Monstrosity” or “P for Pullover” – but don’t hold your breath. My mum was a keen knitter, though, so I could tell you a yarn or two… Sorry. I am very, very, sorry. Seriously. Please forgive me…
Kylie: Christmas songs are universally awful, but I must admit a certain fondness for Kylie’s cover of Santa Baby, which always puts a smile on my face. As does The Waitresses’ Christmas (W)rapping. Do you have a favourite Christmas song, or are you a miserable git? Feel free to let me know using the comment box below. I’m this (holds up thumb and forefinger showing a tiny gap of around a millimetre) interested 😉
 Name changed to protect the guilty.
 Q: How does Good King Wenceslas like his pizzas? A: Deep-pan, crisp and even… …