Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Scottish Christmas Tradition

Let's get it out of the way. Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or whatever tickles your fancy.

I'm not a religious person and I'm not a fan of Christmas. I hate having to go Christmas shopping and I hate pretending to be happy to get things that I either don't want or need or like. In the rare occasions that a gift meets all those requirements I'm at a loss as to how I should express my gratitude and genuine happiness because my face is so set in cynical ways.

And yes, you could say I didn't have many good childhood memories of Christmas, although one year I could've sworn I saw Santa near my Christmas tree (even though we didn't have a chimney or even an open window). I would have to say that Christmas, for me, had a lot to do with cleaning and cooking, growing up. My mother wanted to make everything perfect so I could have those good memories but I guess that plan backfired. I hate cooking on Christmas. In fact, I'm more likely to cook Christmas treats in May than I am in December. And now that I acquired a large extended family, every other year I have to travel across the country to be with a lot of people I don't know, accepting gifts from people who wouldn't know the first thing about shopping for me, run around a strange land passing through three different households and having dinner twice and fending off advances from a 20ish year-old sexually frustrated cousin with Down syndrome. Fun times.

So let's talk of better things. Like the title. So.

Last year, around November or December, we were having our usual game night at our neighbors' when they brought out a souvenir his parents had brought from their trip to Scotland. For me, Scotland had never been more than the setting for Trainspotting and the birthplace of Duncan MacLeod of the clan MacLeod.

I'm sure the reason they went to Scotland in the first place was to dispel these myths of Highlanders in tartan kilts and strange creatures in the depths of lakes. What they brought back, however, was a strange but endearing mix of the two. We fell in love with this cross of Scottish ingenuity and Chinese manufacture, as a few parts of "Scotland the Brave" sounded a bit off. But we soon realized it had much more potential. You see, as you keep pressing its cute little bagpipes, Nessie starts erring more and more notes.  It can get to a point where you forget how the original tune went and, seeing as we only pull out Nessie when we're anything but sober, your ability to breathe unhindered is severely limited. 

The other day I was walking home and I wondered "what was that adorable little thing that made us laugh so hard around Christmas time last year?" I soon recalled Nessie and made it a tribute so I would never forget again.

I'll be gone by the time this publishes but I'll be back by the 26th or 7th.

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