Saturday, December 20, 2008
Deck the halls... with gilded bon bons
You always know that Christmas day is getting really close when you crack your first bon bon for the season.
Bon bons are like the big guns of the whole Christmas shin-dig thingo, and their appearance at table-based festivities means the serious Christmas shenanigans are about to begin.
By law, bon bons cannot be cracked before December 18; pulling out a box of bon bons for a Christmas party on December 2 would be like Napoleon sending in his archers before war has been declared. It's just not right.
In fact, you can tell how close we are to Christmas day by the frequency of bon bon pullage and the quality of said bon bons.
Yesterday (the 19th) I pulled a bon bon that was modestly sized with an inch-high plastic ship (not sea worthy) for a prize. It was pretty much just a toilet roll with some newspaper wrapped around it with some gold stuff stuck on. And the joke? It was a joke entirely suitable to a December 19 bon bon: what clothing does a house wear? Address! Awwww haw haw haw.
The December 19 bon bon is one that comes in a pack of 30 that's been stored on the lower shelves at the $2 shop. It's the little flag bearer that rides out before the army: pretty innocuous in itself but signalling big things to come.
The December 22 bon bons are a slightly different story. It's getting more serious by December 22 because The Day is nearly here, but while December 22 gatherings are Significant, they're not the Big Christmas Cheese itself.
So the December 22 bon bon cracks delightfully and appropriately with the friendliest tug from your neighbour, the little plastic ship is almost sea worthy (with room for Tinkerbell or a very small Oompaloompah), and the word-play of the joke is a tiny step above that of the December 19 joke: what shakes and sits at the bottom of the ocean? A nervous wreck!
The December 22 bon bon is the foot soldier of the bon bon world: hard-working and fearless but not the glittering leader.
The bon bons that come out on Christmas day are often worthy of immediate pre-posthumous memorialisation. They are gigantic, threaded with gold leaf and most often studded with diamonds. They are worth more than the average black market kidney and are delivered by guards in armoured vans just moments before the bon bonage begins.
When you crack one of these babies open it's like Kerry Packer has left the front door to his house wide open and his safes unlocked. The paper hat is so well constructed you could wear it to the cricket, and the prize wouldn't look out of place on a chain around your neck. And the joke? Why did Phil fall off his bike? Because he was a goldfish!
Ok, so no matter what the date or the price, the jokes don't get any better, and hurrah for that!