A Real Fairytale Nativity
On Monday I surfaced from sleep to the sound of Kirsty McColl and Shane Whatzisname from the Pogues on the clock radio, belting out A Fairy Tale of New York. I love that song, it’s gritty, it’s romantic, it’s funny and it’s Christmassy – definitely my favourite. I’m given to retching when I hear ‘So here it is Merry Christmas’ from that Noddy Holden bloke. The smaltz and the sentimentality is just too sickly sweet for me. A Fairytale of New York is fabulous simply because of the reality of it, you can picture the meeting ‘on a cold Christmas Eve’ and when ‘Sinatra was swinging and all the drunks they were singing’ – the song paints pictures. The start of the relationship and the end – Thank God it’s our last’. There’s something wonderful about words that evoke feelings and places like that.
I remember when my daughter took part in her very first nativity. She must have been 3 at the time and was an ‘Angel’, she wore white leggings, a white top, a tinsel halo and gold wings – she looked so cute and nervous as anything when I spotted her at the back sat next to one of the nursery staff. My poor little love was supposed to wiggle whilst they all sang ‘Have a Wiggly Christmas’ or something like that; she stood like a rabbit in the headlights and swayed slightly, looking very much like she was going to burst into tears. There were a lot of parents there, and quite a few children developed severe stage fright and just stood mouthing the occasional word and looked bewildered. One unfortunate lad wore a donkey costume and the head which was attached to his hood kept falling over his eyes so he couldn’t see, he wrestled bravely with it and managed to peek out from underneath an Eeyore-esque nose. To their credit, the nursery staff sang enthusiastically to cover up for the petrified children.
Realistically speaking, it was not a success – but I will always carry in my mind the image of my daughter looking so adorable in her little outfit, the sparkling tinsel, and the gold edged wings; her little face with her big blue eyes, staring over at me – she ‘ll forever be my little angel, even when she’s 30 odd years old and has her own children.
Rather like the Fairytale of New York, the reality is not always picture-perfect, but the impression can still be beautiful.