1. Ian wants to be a pirate for Christmas. (It's my impression that 'fancy dress' events mark many holidays in the UK, and so hundreds of little Ians probably are pirates for Christmas.)
2. Its the 23rd, so of course we just watched Seinfeld in syndication. May I say that the Festivus episode (actual title, The Strike) represents a pinnacle of smart-assery to which all of us amateur smart asses aspire: to have a family inside joke adopted as a holiday in households all over the world. In my family, a rough equivalent would be if the Mitchell Family Greeting (kermit-like arm flailing, open mouthed head rocking) or the Miller-Mitchell All-Purpose Note ("Gun noot. B. Bacson.") somehow came into universal use. Even my own household does not adhere to these customs.
3. This reminds me of a David Sedaris story, one that I feel so close to my own heart that I cannot even remember where it's from, presumably one of the early popular works like Barrel Fever. David and his many siblings, in adulthood, have gathered for a family holiday, and are staying at a motel. Some circumstance (perhaps they won't smoke in front of their mother, who has cancer) has them sitting outside by a dumpster, sneaking cigarettes in a drizzle. Their father shouts out from the motor court patio at them: "You know what's wrong with you kids?"
and they answer, in a single, exhausted voice, "yeah, we're SPOILED."
The first time I read this, I gasped, caught in perfect tension between snorting laughter (because damn, that's hysterical) tears (at the realness) and blind astonished envy at the writing. I tried to read it to Eric immediately, which came to nothing because I couldn't squeak out a sound.
After several minutes, I calmed down and read it to him, and now it's quoted quite frequently.
Hummph: The Muppet Show, The House at Pooh Corner, and David Sedaris. Add to this The Long Secret (which is where my brother and I learned to turn to one another and say "Jesus hates you.") and it's a pretty good overview of the cultural influences on my upbringing.
Merry Christmas. Should we ever get around to it, we'll post something or other at www.mitchellhenning.blogspot.com.