The perfect Christmas doesn’t come easy

Christmas table

Christmas table

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Just days ago we were in the final throes of Christmas preparations and the wonderful yuletide joy it brings to us all.

The TV adverts were in full flow, with gorgeous people floating effortlessly from shop to shop, purchasing well thought-out gifts for their treasured families and loved ones, all the while humming familiar and catchy Christmas tunes, stopping only to partake in a delicious mince pie or two, or to sip some rich mulled wine to warm the very cockles of the heart.

Back in the real world, I was screeching down the telephone to the famous toy company, who shall remain nameless, because the online promise of this year’s longed for (terribly designed, little played-with-by-January) doll is not being fulfilled and delivery will, in fact, now be on December 31st. Idiots R Us.

Let’s move on to the Christmas day plans and meal preparation.

“It’s just a roast dinner!” I guffawed to my friend a couple of weeks ago. “Why does everyone get so stressed? Running round the shops as if they’re closed for a year, not a day... Just ridiculous.”

Cue December 18th, I was sprinting down Castle Street with a list as long as my arm of must-have items still to purchase.

Silver napkins (they must be silver to go with the late eBay purchased tablecloth which was another last minute thought – the table must look as if it’s come from the pages of an interiors magazine, obviously). Yet more red candles (trying to recreate the grotto look for the table, but at the same time, scream effortless chic). Parsnips (no clue how to cook them, but will frantically research delicious and unique recipes online to make them taste like I do them every week). Every type of alcoholic beverage known to man (Mum’ll want sherry, Claire’ll need vodka, Laura likes a gin and tonic, we’ll need bucks fizz ... and what if someone fancies a snowball? Best get a bottle of Advocaat). The list went on. And on.

So for everyone who was in the thick of it, trying to pretend it’s all ok, I salute you. Know that you are not alone.

To all my stocking stuffing, present wrapping, toy delivering, hyped-up children minding, frantic gift finding, fine pudding sourcing, organic turkey stuffing, parsnip roasting comrades ... I salute you and send you the warmest of season’s greetings. May you find the true meaning of Christmas in there somewhere and may your efforts be truly appreciated.

Now, did someone say “snowball”?