1. Scrooged 8 stars (out of ten) 24th December
He arrived this morning. Straight from the station in a taxi. My mum is so pleased, he’s her youngest brother with the same name as me except I’m Raymond and he’s just Ray. He hasn’t been home since before I was born. She has been planning this for months. They spend the afternoon laughing in the kitchen, I’ve never seen her so happy. Her eyes shine and she can’t stop looking at him. So proud. He shook my hand when he arrived and said because I was ten I was too old for a hug. I felt grown up. I watched Scrooged in the living room. My sisters Timina and Jessie were there as well. It’s funny and we sang along at the end when Bill Murray tells us to.
2. Home Alone 10 stars 25th December
We go to church for the early service and then back home through the snow. We run down our street and have a snowball fight outside the house, the boys against the girls and the boys win! We have hot chocolate and cookies as our reward and then we open our presents. I get a new phone and clothes. Ray gives us cash which we love. Nana Pinkie arrives at one and we get pyjamas as usual. She buys slippers for Ray and my dad. Ray and my mum cook lunch and my sisters serve it. There is red wine and I’m allowed to taste it. When we have eaten enough I clear away and I hear Nana Pinkie say to my dad ‘now you know what it is like to be second best’ afterwards I put everyone’s telephone number into my contact list. I have turkey sandwiches for tea. We all laugh at Home Alone and Ray does impressions of Macaulay Culkin. Even my Nana Pinkie smiles. She then tells us about when my mum and Ray were little and my mum used to put him in the basket on her bike in his christening blanket and they would play ET. My mum was always braking too quickly and nearly killed him about ten times. She says all the bumps on his head probably made him the way he is now.
3. Oliver! 6 stars 26th December
We have a late breakfast and lunch and a big family walk in the afternoon. We traipse to the school and back and through the town to see the cribs in the two churches. Back home Ray shows me how to make his special coffee with two egg cups full of brandy. We watch Oliver! and I’m bored with the singing very quickly and am scared of Bill Sykes. My mum doesn’t cook dinner and we have leftovers. Ray has three more coffees.
4. Jurassic Park 7 stars 27th December
We have a big tidy up morning before lunch and then another walk afterwards. This time we miss out the churches and have drinks in the local bar. I’m only allowed in the lounge until 6pm and then we have to leave. We have turkey curry and watch Jurassic Park before I go to bed. Ray goes back to the bar with my mum and dad. Timina and Jessie babysit and won’t let me back downstairs to watch Netflix.
5. Die Hard 10 stars 28th December
No walk today as everyone is apparently too tired. I overhear my father say something about French kissing Tim the postman as I walk into the kitchen to get Ray his first coffee of the day. Timina and Jessie go to the sales to spend their Christmas money and I’m left with Ray for the afternoon and we play cards with my mum and my dad watches the football in the study. Nana Pinkie calls me on my phone and asks to speak to Ray and five minutes later we walk to Nana Pinkie’s house. When we get there I immediately see she’s in one of her moods. I’m sent to the kitchen to make tea and when I get back Ray looks like he is about to cry. Nana Pinkie tells me I’m a good boy and she hopes I stay that way and not turn out like Ray. She says some more mean things to Ray and I sneak six chocolate biscuits in total before we leave. On the way home Ray is quiet and doesn’t even want to talk about what film we will watch that night. When we get home he goes straight into the kitchen and everything is very quiet for about five minutes. Then I’m called in and my mum asks what Nana Pinkie said to me and if she used the ‘q’ word and I say she did. Then my mum gets on the phone and screams and then all hells breaks loose. Nana Pinkie arrives on our doorstep without her wig and my mum won’t let her in. They shout at each other and Nana Pinkie calls my mum a troublemaker and calls Ray a disgrace, Ray says that when Bill died she never called or sent a card for over a month. My mum tells her that she is not invited for Sunday lunch ever again and Nana Pinkie says she’ll go to Teddy and Marie’s instead and my mum laughs and says we all know that she’s banned as she criticised the roast beef once too often. Then Nana Pinkie plays her ace and asks my dad what it feels like not to be the man of the house and everything is run by a crazy bitch? My dad hesitates like he’s lost for words and Nana Pinkie smiles and says she knew he wasn’t a real man. Then my dad says very quietly that he doesn’t need her opinion to help him make decisions in his own house. He says he and my mum are a team and that Nana Pinkie wouldn’t know anything about that because she’s a bully and made my grandfather’s life a living hell and no wonder he had another woman called Cilla for years. He says that being a man is about being strong and kind and Ray is as important as anyone else and not less and if she ever speaks to my mum again like she just has he will never allow her to see her grandchildren again. He tells her to go home and reflect on her bad behaviour and he’ll expect an apology from her to my mum and Ray in the morning. And he goes and shuts the door and locks it. Then my mum cries and so does Ray. We all watch Die Hard together and feel very toasty. We all cheer when Professor Snape falls out of the building and dies (spoiler).
6. The Wizard of Oz 2 stars 29th December
The next morning two large ugly bouquets of flowers arrived from Nana Pinkie, one for my mum and one for Ray. Then she calls everyone’s phone but no one answers except me as I love getting calls. I pass the phone to my mum and she disappears into the kitchen. Afterwards she says Nana Pinkie is on probation. Tim the postman arrives with last minute Christmas cards and Ray spends half an hour talking to him outside in the garden. Ray forces us to watch The Wizard of Oz in the afternoon which is basically rubbish except for the flying monkeys. He sings along with all the songs and I make him four coffees and he has to have a lie down before he goes to the pub with my sisters in the evening. I hear them arrive home laughing at the top of their voices at about midnight. The dog next door then barks for about an hour.
7. Elf 9 stars 30th December
More flowers from Nana Pinkie today and more phone calls but we are too tired of her nonsense so nobody picks up. I go shopping for new trainers with my dad and when we get home for lunch everyone is awake but tired. Apparently there was a fight outside the pub last night between Tim the postman and George Kelly a man who paints our house and Ray says it did him the world of good to be popular again. I get to choose the film today and we watch Elf and nearly everyone falls asleep at some point and I have to keep pausing and re-starting to make sure everyone can follow the plot. Ray gets three calls from George Kelly and one from Nana Pinkie which he takes by mistake.
8. The Christmas Chronicles 7 stars 31st December
We are having a dinner tonight and Nana Pinkie is invited, so is Tim the postman and George Kelly and then Ray will decide which one he will spend the rest of his life with. I think this is a joke but I’m not sure. I stay out of the way and watch The Christmas Chronicles in the study which is still good but not great if you’ve seen it before. Nana Pinkie arrives at eight and is only back in on a pass. She behaves herself and then says that she feels sorry for George Kelly’s wife and soon after that an uber arrives to bring her home which she says wasn’t expecting but doesn’t protest too much. I fetch her coat and she gives me a twenty. At the door she kisses me and tells that she is not a bad person. At midnight we all watch the fireworks and cheer. Then I’m sent to bed. As I fall asleep I can hear my mum and Ray sing along to old Madonna songs. Family can be exhausting.
9. Moonstruck 3 stars 1st January
I get up early and go to the kitchen to get breakfast. Ray and Tim the postman are drinking coffee. Rays says Tim stayed the night. Tim tells me when they were younger Ray was the smartest in their class and George Kelly was the stupidest. Ray says that was a long time ago and now he’s practically an old man. Ray shows me how to make toasted cheese sandwiches in the frying pan with the butter on the outside of the bread and we eat them in the kitchen just chat about everything. Before Tim goes home Ray talks to him on the porch and I tidy up. When he comes back I can see he’s sad. To cheer him up I ask him if he’d like to visit Nana Pinkie today and he cracks up. We then watch Moonstruck which is only funny when Ray impersonates Cher when she mentions the red dress. I make him four coffees. He wanted more but we have no more brandy or whiskey or rum or vodka.
10. The Lion King 10 stars 2nd January
Departure. We are all awake early as Ray needs to pack and take a taxi to the station. He won’t let my father drive him there as he’s worried he’ll make a scene. We all line up in the hall and he hugs us all and rests his head my mum’s shoulder for ages. She tells him he must visit again and invites him for next Christmas. When my father finally closes the door he jokes never again and we all laugh. My mum says he’ll never win that one. We all drift off to different rooms. Because I have nothing better to do, and no Ray to choose the afternoon entertainment, I watch The Lion King which I haven’t seen since I was about six. I cry when the baby lion is born, when Mufasa is killed and when they all go to Pride Rock at the end. I’ve never done that before. I guess I’m growing up. I’ll be eleven next year. In some parts of the world I could probably be married by then or so Ray said. I go to bed early as I have school tomorrow. I wonder if anyone else had a Christmas like me.