Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Havin' a Comedy Christmas 2015

"Tis the season to be jolly....." 

Yes, it's that time of year again. It's unbelievable how quickly it turns up each December.  In 2014 we posted Top 10 Tips to Survive Christmas, as we recognise that the festive season is not everyone's favourite period.

For Christmas 2015 our team have been inspired by local comedian Owen Griffkin's new comedy workshops to think how laughter has kept us going over Christmases past.

Each of the team has come up with a book, or film, or memory that has made them laugh in Christmases gone by whilst wondering whether to embrace the holly (ouch) and mince pies with family, friends or even complete strangers, or just run and hide.

"Fa la la la la, la la la la...."


Many things remind me of Christmas and the laughs I’ve had, such as watching classic 1990 Christmas film ‘Home Alone’ with Macaulay Culkin. But the highlight of any recent Christmas was watching my dog, Bella (a fluffy white bichon frise) open my mum’s Christmas presents for her. As the centre of our little family, she is without a doubt put on the highest pedestal, treated like a human and the focus of me and my mum’s lives. I’ve had the blessing of owning Bella since my last year in primary school, which makes Bella around 14 years old (an old lady!) yet she still has the personality of a puppy and hasn’t lost any of her diva like qualities yet. She is spoiled, and rightly so!

Last Christmas, the buzz and excitement of smelling her Christmas dinner and her presents under the tree were too much to bear, and she began like a puppy, tearing the corners of the wrapping paper off. We normally get her to help open a small section of our presents, but last year, she came into her own! Without any warning she took centre stage and started unwrapping presents in the middle of the living room, swinging the paper around with her mouth as best she could, determined to find out what was inside! After some playful growling, swinging wrapping paper and presents and holding them down with her paws, she had unbelievably managed to open two well wrapped presents! This memory always makes me laugh at how loving and funny animals can be, who enjoy Christmas as much as anyone else! It also made me and my mum hysterically laugh, along with us clapping and cheering her along!

‘Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.’ George Eliot


When Jackie suggested this topic for a blog, my heart sank slightly. Call me Scrooge but Christmas isn’t one of my favourite times of year. 

But then I remembered my favourite scene from "The Wrong Trousers", an Aardman Animations film starring Wallace & Gromit that was first shown on Boxing Day in 1993, and will be forever associated with Christmas for me. It’s the train set chase scene where Gromit is attempting to stop criminal penguin Feathers McGraw escaping after a diamond heist. When Gromit grabs the box marked spare track and frenetically starts to lay track to keep the toy train on the rails, I was in hysterics. It’s well worth watching the clip on YouTube. I defy anyone not to smile whilst watching it.


Way, way back in 1982 I ripped open a Christmas present whilst on holiday in Dorset. It was a copy of the now legendary Adrian Mole book by Sue Townsend - “The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾”. I started reading, was hooked after two pages, and didn’t stop until I’d finished a few hours later. The Christmas pudding was long since cold, the mince pies just crumbs swimming in spilled alcohol, and my elbows had turned black and blue from lying still for so long. It was the funniest book I’d read in ages by a classic writer of comedy fiction. Who hasn’t heard of Adrian Mole?

Sue Townsend went on to write a total of 8 books about Adrian Mole, taking him from angst-ridden teenager in the Thatcherite years of the 1980s to the brink of middle age in the The Prostrate Years and Gordon Brown’s New Labour era of the late noughties. I haven’t read the later volumes - so there is more laughter to look forward to yet.

Here are a few of my favourite quotes from the original classic:

“I must say that I take my hat off to Sainsbury's, they seem to attract a better class of person. I saw a vicar choosing toilet paper; he chose a four-roll pack of purple three-ply. He must have money to burn! He could have bought some shiny white and given the difference to the poor. What a hypocrite!”

“It is the first day of spring. The council have chopped all the elms down in Elm Tree Avenue.” 

“I have never seen a dead body or a female nipple. This is what comes from living in a cul-de-sac.”


Some years ago my mother came for Christmas. She was (she died this year) a very difficult person and there was always a fair amount of tension with her around. During Christmas Eve she snapped at one of my teenage children for not doing, in her eyes, sufficient washing up. A general shouting match ensued with my mother shouting at said child and ripping up the Christmas present she was going to give to this offspring - who obviously shouted back that no-one had wanted Granny to come anyway and me shouting at my mother in defence of my children. 

Meanwhile my husband was at his work’s Christmas booze-up - which was legendary. My daughter rang the most likely pub, found him and summoned him back. Eventually he wove his way home and into this maelstrom, lay on the floor and declared “I love you all!”. I can’t actually remember what happened next - but I found a mention of this in some notes after my mother moved out of her house into a nursing home - she had written “Christmas with Jane and children, least said”. For us this is now a traditional family Christmas story, and I guess it goes to show that Christmas can be difficult and tense and also, at least in retrospective, hilarious too.

Support over Christmas

Wellness and Recovery Learning Centres around Powys are open at some point over Christmas and the New Year and would welcome your visit. Click here to find their contact details and links to their own websites.You can link to national helplines here.

If you need help urgently find information here.

Have a Happy Comedy Christmas and we look forward to hearing from you in 2016!


  1. Reminds me of Christmas a couple of years ago where we were trying to get my parents to move house (Dad was long past retirement age and resistent) so one of my brother's bought him a two wheel trolley to help load up things and my old Dad was so taken with this that we have a picture of him standing up on the trolley being wheeled around by my brother...we all laughed 'till we cried..the folks finally moved this year into their new home. It all began with a two wheel lift!

    1. Hi Freda

      Thanks for sharing! I should have added in the blog that we encourage other suggestions and stories. That 2 wheel trolley sounds a little like a Segway, as used to good comic effect by the character Niles in an episode of the American sitcom Frasier (2 brothers who are psychiatrists in Seattle for those not familiar with the show). The Frasier Christmas show "High Holidays" is also well worth a watch for more seasonal hilarity.