In an article the other day (You may have seen a cakewalk, but have you seen plenty of this (9)) I mentioned in passing Spidermas. And in response, literally one question has come flooding in. So what is Spidermas?
Well, back in the dim and distant past
Nick and I were flatmates and over that time certain rituals developed that have lived on despite several attempts to kill them. Spidermas is one of these traditions.
Basically Christmas is a bit of a problem for flatmates because the likelihood is that you won’t spend your actual Christmas day together so when do you get to exchange presents. Now I guess most people would simply wait for the last day that everyone is together but that simply wasn’t our style. No we decided to create an event to have instead of Christmas. At first it didn’t have a name, at first it was simply a dream.
Okay, maybe it wasn’t that dramatic either. What happened was that Nick and I decided to go and buy a tree on the first of December. It seemed a reasonable thing to do. And then once we had a tree we decided to wrap our presents to each other and place them under that self same tree.
Once we were done with the lights and presents it really did look pretty nice. Even if the tree was, I seem to remember, perched on top of the mini fridge. (Note to people digging the visual. I learnt a valuable lesson that year that the heat out of the back of a mini fridge is enough to kill a Christmas tree in about a week. Of course we left the tree there until easter but that is another story.)
But being impatient and curious people we had to open the presents immediately. And it was at this point when we returned to the tree that we noticed the two small spiders at least one of whom was called Jerry.*
So after we discovered the spiders we opened and enjoyed the presents, and then we carried on with our lives.
The next year we did the same thing, without actually still ever having referred to it as Spidermas. And after we’d dragged the tree in, with me wearing protective gloves as I’d discovered I’m mildly allergic to pine needles.*** We placed the tree in the corner of the room and then set about wrapping presents. The thing is, and this is the miracle, by the time we came back the two spiders were in position again. This never reoccurred, but to our minds it forever altered the occasion. And it turned the poorly named “day when flat mates exchange presents” into “Spidermas”.
And I sincerely hope that this post, if nothing else, encourages people who are sharing flats to experience the simple joys of Spidermas next year on 1st December.
*The spiders** usually lived in our bathroom. Which is when we had named them. There wasn’t a naming ceremony on Spidermas – just to be clear.
** I have absolutely no idea what the other spider was called. Perhaps Nick knows.
*** Interestingly this seems to be only true on my skin. Reasonably recently in Germany I was drinking a variety of different schnapps without knowing what the variety was before I drank (I was having a taste test) and so I was somewhat worried when I tasted pine in my drink. The drink was distilled pine needles I soon discovered. But despite worrying Katherine enough that she bothered to work out what “my boyfriend is allergic to pine and has just swallowed a quantity of pine schnapps and his throat has started to close up” was in German. But in the end I was okay. So clearly it’s only a problem on the outside.