When the kids were teeny weeny little toddlers and we were still in our overprotective phase of parenting, we took them to Christingle at the local church, because it seemed like a Christmassy thing to do. Little did we know it’s a Protestant Rite of Passage, where only the fittest and least combustible survive.
Being a good Catholic I’d never heard of this, because Catholics don’t like to try and kill their newly born children (as a general rule). But now that I’m a bad Catholic, I was able to enter a Protestant church without God’s biblical anger turning our little village and the one just down the road into Sodom and Gomorrah.
But, let me tell you, I wish he had stopped me.
To be honest, the ceremony started well.
We sang some Protestant Christmas carols, which sounded pretty much like our Catholic ones, the priest changed his name to a Vicar, which I could deal with, and then, after softening us up, the sacrificing began.
All the children, who had just graduated from being foetuses, were called to the front and given ninja death stars, let’s look at them again:
They were actually oranges with cocktail sticks sticking out of them with Liquorice Allsorts stuck on them.
What would’ve happened if one of the poor cherubs had eaten one of those?
But that’s not the dangerous bit.
The children stood in a line while the Chief Executioner, I mean the Vicar, lit candles that were sticking out of the top of the death stars.
We’d just told our daughter not to play with matches or go near mummy’s candles that smell of bed sheets wafting in a summer meadow. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the smell of noses burning, but it’s very distinctive. Here’s a diagram I found on the internet, showing safe distances before your nose burns off.
This safe limit was not adhered to by these little characters, who had only recently discovered standing up.
But that’s not the dangerous part.
The graduated foetuses were in a queue. A cramped, tightly packed queue. Our daughter started laughing and wobbling and fell forward almost setting the girl in front’s hair on fire. Worse the tiny boy behind was being a tiny boy and pretending to set my daughter’s hair on fire, and he was good at it.
Then the Torturer told us a funny story.
‘You’re not going to believe this, chortle chortle, but a couple of years ago when we were doing this, chuckle chuckle, several children’s hair set on fire and someone got a cocktail stick in their eye and had to go to hospital’
All the overprotective parents laughed like maniacs and wondered why they weren’t calling 999.
The happy ending is this – our daughter survived with just a singe and loved it. And, once we were over the finicky vigilant phase, she played with fire and matches and candles and very sharp objects as much as she wanted.
FYI Glow sticks had been invented by then, just saying.
Have a great weekend and hope you’re not going to a Christingle.
Take care and all the best,
(If you want to leave a comment below, that would be great)