Christmas is a time of year for family and friends, eating and drinking, laughing, giving and remembering. And if you live on a farm… runaway sheep and calving, muck and mayhem and emergency rescues.
Here are 11 of the things us farmer’s kids in the Farmers Weekly office think makes Christmas different on the farm…
1 You’re up at the crack of dawn… to give the cows their breakfast, not to tear into your stocking. Santa’s delivery is important, but only once the ladies are fed. So you will wait for presents until all feeding, shepherding, milking is done. Farmer’s children may as well learn patience at a young age.
2 You’ve given the workforce a well-earned day off, so there’s just no way you can spare the time to help peel 50 potatoes or cross 100 brussels sprouts. “Sorry darling, lots to do in the yard this morning”.
3 Another important morning job is checking the water pipes and troughs. No one needs the rigmarole of kettles of boiling water and ice bashing if they freeze up. Getting water to the livestock is even more important than getting sherry to grandma.
4 Presents are likely to be wrapped in a mixture of red and gold shiny wrapping paper and torn out pages from farming magazines. We’re glad to be useful in any form.
5 While most people dress up in festive knitted numbers, aunts and uncles will turn their noses up because you’re sat at the table stinking of cow muck because you didn’t have time to change. What’s the point anyway? You’ll have to go back outside after dinner!
6 A large proportion of lunch on the big day will be from the farm to fork, be it homebred turkey, goose, ham or beef, or homegrown sprouty goodness. And it all tastes so much better that way.
7 There are practical gifts a plenty – surely a thinsulate hat or a penknife would be more useful than perfume or aftershave.
8 The Aga plays up. We’re not saying farmhouses are cold, but the Christmas tree is probably more likely to shed its needles outside than inside.
9 You pop out for a quick look about before settling down with a drink and that one cow that got caught when the bull escaped has picked today as the day for her big delivery. And you have a calf named Jesus.
10 Just when you’re about to have an evening snooze, you and your tractor will be called upon to pull motorists out of ditches, verges and off roadsides after they’ve slid on the ice or snow. Basically, you’re the fourth emergency service.
11 Everyone is in reminiscing mode. Who used to farm those 10 acres on the edge of the village? No, not him, before him. I knew his grandfather. A good shepherd. Had a limp. Bit of a drinker. Stories like this will continue long into the evening.
Even after all the interruptions of your bucks fizz and ferrero rochers, you wouldn’t have it any other way…