The Session: The Best Day of The Year

Here’s my submission for the session, a monthly blogging event where you post on the same topic. It’s my interpretation of ‘A Dickens of a Topic.’ The Session is hosted this time by Phil over at Beersay, so get over there and check out the other entries. Hope you like it.

Christmas, 1990

My grandparent’s house; always the venue for Christmas day because it was detached and cavernous enough to hold us all. In the living room, the floor littered with new toys and my brother and I wearing our new jumpers, we’d sit goggle-eyed in wonder of it all; obsessed with whatever toy was sitting in our laps, even then salivating it the thought of all that food to come. A true butcher’s spread; an obscene amount of meat, vegetables and pastry. Decorations, Gold and Red. Mum and Grandma in aprons. Gravy boats. Party hats. Cartoons on TV. The sound of the knife being sharpened in the kitchen cutting through tipsy chatter. The best day of the year.

My Dad, Uncle and Grandad are going to the pub. When they reappear, cheeks a little rosier than when they left, the crate of beers appear. A never-ending supply,  kept under the stairs, sitting cold. There’s no room in the fridge anyway; too much Ham and Pork Pies, Relishes and Cheeses even for those sleek tins.

Snap- sssht.

Snap- sssht.

Snap- sssht.

The sound of cans being popped, the toffee-brown contents poured into glasses with slogans on them. Orange cans, crumpled, sitting in the bin. Stones Bitter. Tetley’s. These are the beers my dad drinks. These are the beers my uncle drinks. Sitting on their laps, watching Morecambe and Wise and Only Fools and Horses. Little hands reaching up – a little sip for us won’t hurt! After all, it’s Christmas – The best day of the year!

Christmas 2009

My dad’s place. Me, my Dad, Brother and Sister. We’ve all helped with the cooking, and now we sit eating at the table, party hats on, laughing and joking because this is Dad’s year for Christmas. He makes out like it’s no big deal but I know it is – how can it not be, it’s the best day of the year. There’s a plate of pigs-in-blankets the size of Everest at the head of the table because it’s his favourite food and we can do what we want now.  Turkey, Cheeses  –  Yorkshire Pudding, even. Key Lime Pie in the fridge, nestling above a mountain of Profiteroles. Plus, I’ve brought round some expensive, rare beers for us all to try. They’re sat outside in the garden, chilling down in the frosty air; beers from America. Beers from Italy. Beers from Scotland.

But on the table there are crumpled cans amongst the remains of crackers; the yellow-and-black wasp-bodies of Boddingtons; the familiar Red Triangle of Bass. Easy beers. Beers for Christmas Day, when you start drinking when you get up because it’s the best day of the year.  As the meal wears on and the trousers get tighter, our cheeks redder and voices louder, the cans keep piling up in the bin. Outside, light fades. My imported bottles sit in shadows now. I keep casting glances to them, sitting behind the patio door glass like puppy dogs – but as soon as I do, another can appears at my hand. It’s Christmas, the best day of the year, and these are the beers we drink. My Dad, brothers and I.


About leighgoodstuff

Blog: I'm Leigh Linley; born and bred in Leeds, and writing about it since 2005. TGS exists solely to highlight the great beers that are out there; brewed with passion by Craft Brewers around the World. I also edit the 'Tavern Tales' section of Culture Vulture, which looks at Pubs and Pub Life rather than the beer in the glass.

Posted on 02/12/2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Well written Leigh. Reading it really took me back to Christmases at my Grandparents house when I was probably 6,7,8 years old… a similar tale and one with very fond memories. Unsurprisingly their beer selection was very similar to your dads/uncles back then. I’m feeling all cheery now…. cheers!

  2. Very evocative. It is the best day of the year — Saturday++.

    Christmas is when my Dad *does* drink posh beer. He considers anything over 4.5% a bit strong usually but on Christmas Day, that goes out the window, and its imperial stout all round.

  3. That’s the good stuff indeed. Sometimes lost in our pretensions is the enjoyment of imbibing with our loved ones once or twice a year. Posts like this remind me to enjoy my beer and not simply hunt it down, keeping notes at every turn. Cheers!

  4. I really enjoyed reading this Leigh, as Dave say’s it took me similarly back to the days when my Grandad was alive and my brothers and I took him for a slightly sexist drink while “the ladies” stayed at home and cooked Chrisymas dinner. I don’t do that these days, we rarely go to the pub on Christmas day, but the brothers still get together at some point that day with our Mum and StepDad and just drink, nothing fancy, just drink. Great writing mate thanks.
    Cheers Phil

  5. Leigh

    Here’s a link to last months round up of Decembers which I hosted over in my blog Beersay. Thanks again for posting.

    Session #58 A Christmas Carol – Final round up


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