Saturday, 31 December 2016

All Christmases are last Christmases

It's the seventh Day of Christmas, and I still haven't seen this year's Doctor Who Christmas special.

Part of the reason for this is that while the Resident Fan Boy was in the living room, sleeping during the transmission (he says he won't and always does), I was upstairs watching the production of Richard III that makes up The Hollow Crown, a rollicking holiday fun-fest of drownings, smotherings, decapitations, and general treachery, warfare and murder. Take that, Prince of Peace.

However, some hours earlier, after the family had opened their presents Christmas afternoon, I watched the 2014 and 2015 DW Christmas specials. I think I was the one who dropped off to sleep during the original broadcasts in past years, so they were practically new viewing for me, and they both, at some point, have the same message: every Christmas is a last Christmas. We gather together, as Clara said to the Doctor, never knowing whether this will be the last time; that's why we reach out to family and friends as the days draw shorter and darker.

I pondered on this, thinking about Demeter watching us in Hades via Skype as we opened our presents after lunch, as is our custom, the Resident Fan Boy being the son of an Anglican minister who couldn't join the family by the tree until the four Christmas Day services had taken place. Demeter is still with us; the RFB's father is long gone, his last Christmas being nearly twenty years ago.

I think I was still watching Doctor Who when elder daughter appeared and told me that George Michael had just died. George Michael had a big hit with a song called "Last Christmas"; it's one of my least favourite songs ever, but there is no question that he was a huge talent. This was demonstrated to me beyond a shadow of a doubt on an Easter weekend nearly twenty-five years ago, when I, nearly nine months pregnant, willed elder daughter to stay put until after my birthday, which was the following Wednesday. I lay quietly in our bedroom watching the Freddy Mercury Tribute Concert (Mercury had had his last Christmas a few months before), and George Michael nearly blew Wembley Stadium away with this song.

May the coming year, as uncertain as it may appear, be filled with wonderful firsts, and, if there must be lasts, may they be things with which you are glad to part.