Boxing day 1998
I woke up knowing that my cousin and I had ruined Christmas for many members of our family.
It all started way back in November when we were playing at my Grandmas house and discovered the room where everyones presents where kept for Christmas day. Still believing Christmas was delivered by reindeer's pulling a sleigh in the air on Christmas Eve, we were heartbroken when we found out that each of the presents, though they were signed from Santa, were made in Grandmas grotto rather than his own.
Out of curiosity, we opened present-by-present only to discover that our wealthier Bradford Bulls supporting cousins got better presents than us. Where they were receiving Bradford Bulls season tickets, we got handkerchiefs with the Leeds Rhinos logo embroidered on them. Our Pokemon cards from Santa looked pretty lame compared to their Nintendo 64 games.
We couldn’t leave the room in the mess it was, so my cousin and I came up with the grand plan that was 'swap our presents for their presents'. Obviously, we argued who’d get my sisters Furby, so that we could waste hours hitting it with some extra powerful water pistols we stole from some kids in the neighbourhood. In the end, a game of thumb wars sorted that argument out, and lets say I got the Furby because my thumb was bigger than his thumb.
However, my cousin was the one with the brains and had the bright idea of swapping the Bulls stuff with the Rhinos stuff. Not that we wanted it, and come Christmas day we’d be crying that Santa had got it all wrong and that we’re Rhinos fans. It was all an elaborate plan so that we could emotionally blackmail our parents into letting us see a Rhinos game for the first time ever on Boxing day, and it worked.
So Boxing day it was, and I had my first Rhinos game to look forward to along with the annual family get together at my Grandmas house.
Before all that, I had to worry about what I would wear for my first Rhinos game because the forecast was for it to be freezing. A few of my school friends apparently go to these games so I didn’t want to be seen in my warmest item of clothing - a Scoobie Doo fleece. In the end I just settled for three thick socks for each foot, four Ellesse tops (fake and from Cross Green), Adidas trackies and a big bomber coat my Mum had bought me years ago from Tradex.
Once all fitted up, I ran downstairs and found that all of my presents had been replaced with what I should have had before my cousin and I pulled off that prank back in November. A note was left by the Christmas tree that explained that Santa had gotten the presents mixed up and that this is what he meant to deliver. No longer having the privilege to shoot water at my sisters Furby angered me a bit, but it was great that I didn’t get caught swapping the presents about with my cousin, and I still had a Rhinos game to go to, for the first time ever.
In the kitchen a warm breakfast was waiting for me that would 'apparently' keep me heated up throughout most of the game. It was, however, more likely to make me throw up during the game because of the amount of chocolate I sneaked up to bed the night before. Still, I didn’t want to be put through the whole kids in the third world are starving lecture my parents would do in order to embarrass me into eating whatever my mum had cooked, so I ate the whole lot, without any hesitation.
Not long after I had eaten breakfast, a resounding beep echoed from outside saving me from that 'spit and wipe on the face ritual' that Mums always do before you leave for the great outdoors. I was so excited I forgot to put my trainers on, and because I had three thick socks on each foot, I could hardly feel the snow beneath my feet. Thankfully my uncle always had a solution to these kinds of problems.
To be continued....