My face probably gave away my ignorance as I screwed it up and tried to work out what on earth my darling daughter was talking about.
“You’re looking for a what?” I asked in bemusement.
“A Christmas Eve box,” she replied.
“How do you know that you’re are going to need a box on December 24? Have you been buying awkward shaped Christmas presents again? Can you not just buy one of those pretty gift bags and put them in that?”
Whenever she calls me mother I know that I’ve let the side down again, or at least, showed my age.
“Do you not know what a Christmas Eve box is?” she asked with an exasperated tone.
“Well obviously not Emma or I wouldn’t be asking!” as my tone began to replicate hers.
“It’s a box that the whole family opens on Christmas Eve ...”
“Yes I got the bit about when it was for.”
“Well if you let me explain,” she said snippily (takes that from her father’s side of the family). “It can have new pyjamas for everyone to wear or even just some warm, cosy socks. There can be a board or card game that everyone can play together or perhaps a DVD to watch.
“You could also have some nice Christmas treats to eat and drink, perhaps hot chocolate and marshmallows or little mince pies or chocolate yule logs. It’s really whatever you like. It’s all about spending time together as you wait for Santa Claus to arrive.”
Raising my eyebrows, I retorted: “So in other words, it’s a way of getting folk to spend more money? I bet it comes from America. We now make such a huge thing of Halloween, now Christmas Eve boxes – next thing you know we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving!”
And I continued on my rant: “Anyway, I don’t ever remember having time to sit down on Christmas Eve. If I wasn’t wrapping last minute presents, then I was out delivering them only to come home and start preparing the meal for the following day!”
Emma’s voice became quieter: “Yes mum, that’s probably what it’s all about.
“Instead of people in different corners of the house, it’s a chance to come together and enjoy the start of Christmas without all the usual mayhem.
“I’d have loved for us all to spend some time watching Christmas films together when Gary and I were younger. I don’t want my two to grow up with the same thoughts.”
I opened my mouth about to say something, but after thinking about what she said for once I was speechless.