Thursday, 17 December 2009

Have a Cracking Christmas!

If you're headed toward a place setting at an English Christmas do or holiday dinner near you, you should be chuffed (excited) to see one of these at your spot.  No, it's not an extra festive toilet paper roll.  It's not a holiday recreation of Sputnik, although the sound they make has been known to launch excitable me into orbit.  It's a Christmas cracker, a festive, dinnertime mini explosive that contains a joke or motto or riddle, a prize of debatable value, and that pesty paper crown I always get goaded into wearing.  Save me now!  It's coming directly toward my head!  Alas, for some, it's already too late.

Faithful readers will recall my firmly held assertion that hats make my head look fat.  Worse yet is when some wiseacre gets out the camera and decides to commemorate my millinery malaise.  I cannot deny that I have left many chillers in the greater Cornwall area full of soured milk. The good news is that I have successfully destroyed any photographic evidence within my possession that involves me in a paper crown. The look on my face in one instance was burned into Chumley's mind, he assures me, and was not unlike another poor, kindred spirit I've seen.

For those linguistic lovers out there, a cracker is also British English for all of the following: a dry biscuit, something that is good, an attractive woman, and a firecracker.  Chumley caught me off guard some years ago by declaring that one of the Harry Potter movies was "a cracking film."  All the American possibilities raced through my mind: poor projection and sound quality, produced by a crackpot, weird enough to be devised by people on crack? 

When I go Yankee and think cracker, my friend, the Premium Saltine, comes to mind. 

But as my Christmas gift to you, here's a word of caution: should any of my gentle English readers find themselves deep in the American South this holiday season, they should momentarily quit counting the gunracks and be mindful how they use the term "cracker."  In my mental thesaurus, ranked according to offensiveness, I think "cracker" is like "trailer trash" on steroids.  For example, asking for a Christmas cracker at the information desk of a southern-fried Wal-Mart will assuredly get you a visit with Dirty Santa, or worse, cause a throwdown on aisle 3.

As Chumley and I are about to declare ourselves festive and start exhausting others' holiday hospitality, I will be on blog hiatus until the next decade begins.  My best wishes for a crack-tastic holiday! 


Lolo13 said...

Great post--made me chuckle! Looking forward to my first Christmas with 'crackers'. Happy Holidays!

ChaChaneen said...

Merry Christmas Claire and a Happy New Year too!

ChaChaneen said...

Merry Christmas Claire! Have a wonderful day with your family and friends & blessings to you and your precious Husband!

Jamie said...

Oh, my! The "cracker" situation seems quite dicey. I'm sure hearing it would make me stop dead in my tracks and look at the speaker in complete shock every single time; I can't imagine how long it must have taken you to become accustomed to it. I imagine this must be quite amusing to your friends and neighbors. (Those crazy Americans! Looking all shocked when we talk about firecrackers!)