Ah, the time is upon us. The shops are shut, it’s too late now to remember the cranberry sauce or additional chairs. What’s still on the shops’ shelves is going to stay there at least until Boxing Day. What’s done is done and what isn’t, isn’t.
Which makes me feel a bit twitchy on Christmas Eve. How will I get though tomorrow without bread sauce. Even though I don’t actually like bread sauce, still I probably should have bought some.
Just like I should have bought matching plates, new glasses and redecorated my entire home. Because at Christmas everything needs to be perfect. Even Jamie Oliver says so, so it must be true.
But what if it’s not? What if your kids get up and open all of their presents in the early hours of the morning so that you come downstairs and think you’ve been burgled? Or ‘Santa’ forgets to deliver some fairly major presents? Or what if your youngest completely rejects the concept of opening any gifts at all? And what if the tree falls over mid-Christmas dinner? Or the family is felled the one at a time by gastric flu? (And yes, they have all happened to the Gluesticks, three of them last Christmas alone.)
Do you know what? You carry on and have a lovely Christmas anyway. You yell at the kids, telling them that Santa’s going to take all of their presents back, the ungrateful little sods before relenting and letting them have their stuff back. Or you tell them that Santa’s developed Alzheimer’s (well, he is getting on a bit) or has been at the sherry a little too enthusiastically, but will make a second delivery as soon as he’s sober (/Teflon Man’s remembered where he’s hidden the presents). Or you save the presents til the next day and eventually unwrap them yourself. And you put the tree back up, albeit a bit lopsided, and pick pine needles out of the mixed nuts. You treat the flu as you would Ebola and stay as well away as possible.
But those become the memorable Christmasses more than the perfect ones. They’re the glue that holds the family together.
So, sod Jamie Oliver, Kirstie Allsopp and all the other perfectionists who want you to feel guilty for not having flawless celebrations. Accept that it’s never going to happen. The second Santa’s been you’ve lost any good-behaviour bargaining tool anyway. But the wide-eyed wonder of kiddie gift-gluttony has to be worth it (even if half the toys are going to get on your nerves within the hour).
Just remember to find the mini screwdriver, scissors and batteries now, because it’ll save a lot of stress in the morning.
Champagne always helps too. And a day where booze for breakfast is practically encouraged has to be a good thing.
So sit back, relax and accept that even the f everything’s not quite perfect you’re probably doing better than us.