'twas the twenty-fourth night before Christmas.
The month of December is known around the world for the telling of stories which are made up and to be honest have not a lot do to with Christmas itself. They include the tale of Santa Claus and his gang of followers like Zwart Piet and the Whipping Father, the Christmas Goat, El Caganer, Frosty The Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Lady Bertilak. They are as weird as the Easter Bunny, the Queen's Birthday Robot and the Brenda, the Labour Day Civil Disobedience Penguin.
If these are all made up, then why not make up a bunch of hooey for every day of Advent and commercialise the lot?
December 1st is the first day of the made-up characters calendar and being St Philips Day, in celebration of the Dutch electronics company, this day marks the arrival of Philip The Gravy Duck.
In many people's houses, December 1st is the day that the Christmas tree is decorated. That might mean a trip to the treemongers or perhaps a jaunt into a state forest for a spot of tree poaching, or even to the hall cupboard to set up an imitation fir tree; thus installing a fake version of a piece of vegetation on the pests of national interest register, but irrespective of what tree is used, it always means finding all of the trinkets and baubles to go along with it.
Somewhere in the midst of all the confusion; when nobody expects it and when nobody notices, everyone is visited by the first of The 24 Guardians Of Christmas Spirit: Philip The Gravy Duck. Philip The Gravy Duck isn't actually obsessed with gravy as the name suggests. No, during the fun and frivolity of dressing the Christmas tree, he arrives and hides the gravy boat. On Christmas Day when you're busily hacking into that turkey, ham, goose or perhaps your individual Cornish Hen, invariably you will want some gravy. Much to your chagrin and annoyance, the gravy boat will be missing and you along with scores of disappointed people all over the world, will have to serve the gravy in a mug or small milk jug. Nobody ever realises it at the time and spends most of Christmas Day in a flapdoodle and this is just one of myriad root causes.
In the Christmas story, the tale of Philip The Gravy Duck is represented by the epiphany of the three wise men on January 6th. It was only then that they realised that they were visited by Philip The Gravy Duck and that his larceny was the reason that that had to use one of the inn's pewter beer mugs to pour their gravy out of. What? Did you think that they'd still be hanging about the stables after visiting the baby King Jesus? Ha! Stick that for a joke. They were attending the International Bitumen Conference in Bethlehem. They were actually three very short Scots Chinese and were called McXi, McXaoping and McChang; they were in town selling petrochemicals. They were the "Three Wee Kings Of Orient Tar".
What reason does a duck want for stealing gravy boats? The reason is twofold. Firstly, without any gravy boats, his hope is that many of his ducky brethren will be saved from the chopping block. Secondly, if you turn a gravy boat upside down, it kind of already looks like a very useful piece of premade battle armor for a duck. After Philip The Gravy Duck steals people's gravy boats, he distributes them to needy ducks the world over. Of course once the New Year has come and the need for armor has subsided, the ducks surreptitiously return all the gravy boats to their owners; which is why the police usually cancel the vast majority of their petty larceny enquirers by the end of January.
He sees you when you're sleeping; he knows if you're awake.
He knows if you've got a gravy boat; so it's him who's on the take.
Don't matter if you shout; don't matter if you cry.
Don't matter if you pout; I'm telling you why.
Philip The Gravy Duck is coming to town.