"It's Christmas! Are you getting up?"
The response to this was very much like what happens when a kindly hare wakes up a hibernating bear by giving him an alarm clock. I'm sorry but, unlike John Lewis Christmas adverts, peace and goodwill to all men and woodland creatures does not result from waking up teenage boys and sleeping bears on Christmas day.
An hour later, our little family eventually gathered in the living room for the traditional custom of 'opening the presents'. The first piece of wrapping paper was just being torn off a carefully chosen multi-pack of men's socks when our teenage son broke the spell.
With that, the atmosphere I had tried to create - subdued lighting, cosy dressing gowns, Bing Crosby crooning in the background - vanished in an instant as Rory called a halt to the proceedings and fetched himself a bowl of Rice Krispies.
The rest of the morning passed off in good spirits as Rory morphed back into his old self and a few glasses of fizz kept the chefs happy. The inlaws arrived in the afternoon and surprised me with a pair of earrings identical to the pair they had bought me two years ago: handy if one goes missing? The Christmas dinner was a success, loin of pork for a change, and I was joyous beyond measure when my roast potatoes turned out just like Delia's. After years of Christmas pud for dessert, I threw caution to the wind by serving a raspberry trifle instead. I had filled my own crackers - each person getting a miniature bottle, including Drambuie, cherry brandy, Benedictine and some very explosive spirit which we never did identify but the vapours didn't half clear the sinuses.
Those of you who have followed my blog for some time may be saddened to hear that the usual game of arthritic charades, played with father-in-law's crooked fingers, making the indication of number of words nigh on impossible, was abandoned this year. If you need a reminder of past results, please see here, here, here and here.
Instead, I bought some new games to get the old 'uns going and give us all a laugh. The timeless classic 'Tell Me Quiz', where you have to shout out the answer to a category on a card, using the letter which is displayed after spinning the wheel, brought out the best in my family.
'Name an insect beginning with......S'
'Name a fish beginning with....Y'
'Name an American President beginning with....E'
'There used to be a lad lived down our street, Tom McTavish, who looked just like Eisenhower'
'Name a luxury beginning with....M'
'Marzipan' (shouted simultaneously by Dougie and Rory. Marzipan? Seriously?)
Perhaps my best decision for Christmas Day was to buy a game called Basket Case Headband Hoop Game. Tie a mini basketball net to your head and try and throw ping pong balls into it. Dougie and Rory played with this most of the morning, making up their own versions of the game. But it came into its own, after dinner, when Dougie's parents, George and Emily, who are both 80, showed why they are such good sports. George was completely hopeless, Emily was determined yet adopted a rather unusual method. Finally Dougie, still resplendent in his Homer Simpson apron, showed everyone how it was done,accompanied by his mother unaware she was doing an impression of Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. Awkward.
Have a look at all three in this short video clip:
Finally the telly beckoned but there was much channel-hopping as we couldn't find anything to suit everyone's tastes. So, to remind them of home, we put on the latest DVD from Scottish comedian, Kevin Bridges. The humour and bad language amused them for a while but then the food, alcohol and general merriment started to take its toll, leading to George nodding off. Emily decided they would go home so they could get settled before Downton Abbey (they only live round the corner). They collected their presents, donned coats and scarves and thanked us for a lovely day.
'Aye, quite funny that bloke on the video', said George. 'Mind you, he could've done with singing a few tunes now and then'.