A Collie Christmas

We all know what happens at Christmas. The timing varies only depending on certain circumstances, such as  having young kids in the house, or elderly relatives:
Breakfast optional – presents must be unwrapped at first light or after breakfast – mum emigrates to the  kitchen to deal with the Turkey – Dad, granddad, uncles, older brothers emigrate to the pub if open,  otherwise, the various cans of beer and lager need to be tested. Grannies, aunts, older sisters either help  in the kitchen (to the horror of mum) or are delegated to keep the bloody kids quiet and prevent inter- sibling warfare.
Meanwhile, scores of mince pies and chocolates are being scoffed …
Then, finally – The Turkey! With all the trimmings! And: The Plum Pudding, with brandy sauce, brandy cream,  brandy in it’s natural liquid state …
Then, when everybody is bursting and quiet: the telly! The Queen!
More sherry, dear?
Let’s draw the curtain over the rest of the day, from squabbles amongst kids to fisticuffs amongst  relatives, until everybody sinks into their beds, sodden with alcohol and swearing never ever ever to have  turkey again. Evah. Until next year ….
A Collie Christmas is different. Let me (as we say nowadays) celebrate the memories of Christmasses past,  with my late husband and the previous collies.
Collie #1 was and always will be the Big Dog, the Number One Dog, the Best Dog Evah. He was a rescue, and  the Christmasses first with him then with his companion, the cheeky Madame Dog, were exiting!
At his very first Christmas we still had a proper, live, natural tree. We soon realised that this was going  to be somewhat precarious, what with his nose and tail getting perilously close to the decorations. At least  he didn’t cock his leg against the tree …
Of course, us being a sentimental lot, he got a present, nicely wrapped up (we’re not uncultivated  barbarians!) which we unwrapped for him.
The rest of that first Christmas Day followed, more or less, the pattern of all normal Christmas days.
It was at the next Christmas that the trouble started. Firstly, I got an artificial tree: the memory of  constantly removing needles from the floor so they wouldn’t get into his paws had been too much.
Secondly, that tree was on a table, so as to be above nose-and-tail action.
The Big Dog got his presents – a ball, some biscuits – but this time he wanted to become involved in the  unwrapping. After all, they were ‘his’ presents’ … so we let him pull one corner of the wrapping, holding  fast to the present. After all, we didn’t want him to eat the paper …
The normal time table for the rest of the festivities had changed by then – that dog wanted out, so no  telly, no queen, but a good two hours romp and play and walk … well, that gave us an appetite, no?
After that Christmas, it was downhill all the way.
Clever collie that he was, he had realised that boxes under a tree meant unwrapping – and from year three he  appointed himself the unwrapper-in-chief. He started small, with unwrapping just ‘his’ presents, but  advanced to unwrapping everything within a couple of years: not just his presents, but ours as well. If we  didn’t hand them over, he became outraged. That outrage manifested itself with one of his big paws with  strong claws being plonked full force on any knee in the vicinity. Pawed this way there was only one thing  to do: give in and let him have the damned parcel …
He was very good at unwrapping, never damaging the actual content, and – did I say he was a clever collie?  He was! – he never bothered with any other parcels during the rest of the year.
Once his companion joined in, it was organised mayhem.
No Christmas was complete without the floor of the living room ankle-deep in torn, chewed and ripped  wrappings.
Once back from the good two hours romps and walks, the paper on the floor was meticulously searched and  chewed over for a bit, before the next stage was reached: who could destroy which toy the fastest? Big Dog  was very good at removing the squeak from squeaky toys in a neat surgical fashion, Madame Dog was better at  biting off bits of tails/ears/heads and piling them up next to her. Meanwhile, we were having conniptions in  case the squeaks or the bitten-off pieces were ending up inside the dogs …
After both my husband and Big Dog had died, Madame Dog and I kept up the tradition, but it wasn’t so much  fun any more.
Still, I have the memories: these were happy times… happy Christmas Days – and on that note: a very Happy  and Merry Christmas to all you irredeemable deplorables – and don’t forget not to read the comments!

Colliemum ©