It’s week 92 and I’m digging deep to get into the festive spirit even with the tree up. The mood wasn’t helped by brutish Storm Barra that left us all pretty flattened
• PUTTING up the Christmas tree presents a pretty major challenge to the notion that this is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year (although that’s slightly debatable this year, especially after the week we’ve just had). Ours went up on Saturday and to be honest I’m hardly in the better of it. It started out very promising (it always does), there was a suitably festive nip in the air, we had Christmas FM blaring in the car and there was talk of a hot chocolate after we made our purchase. So far, so Hallmark. When we got to the garden centre I even deliberately held my tongue when it came to making the selection (mainly because I think last year’s ‘scene’ is probably still quite fresh in the minds of staff) and I casually browsed the poinsettia until ‘The One’ was chosen. We loaded it up and off we all went on our merry way. Tra-la-la, tra-la-la, tra-la-la, la-la-la!
• Right, so that was the good stuff that memories are made of. Now for the ugly bits. The rest of the day is best summarised as follows: number of times the ambitiously large tree fell over (on my husband) when we were trying to manoeuvre it into position, three; number of times I thought I was actually going to die laughing, three; number of times my husband looked like he might kill someone, most likely me, three; number of times I fantasised about going to Ibiza next year for Christmas, six; number of times I went all Beyoncé and advised moving the tree ‘to the left, to the left’, nine; number of times I said ‘oh how …lovely’ as the five-year-old put all the red baubles in the one spot, six; number of times I asked if we couldn’t mark the occasion with a hot port, seven, actuallly no, eight.
• Anyway, we got there in the end. The tree is straight from at least one position. From all the others it’s listing dangerously (a bit like me at the office party circa 2012). It’s also skirt-less, (risqué I know), and it shall remain so as moving it again would definitely jeopardise the festive mood (and the marriage). All challenges aside, the most important thing is that when darkness descends, and a rosy hue settles all around, it looks infinitely better, much like myself.
• I mentioned Christmas FM, so yes, we’re pumping out the festive tunes round here. I love them. I’m a traditionalist and adore Little Drummer Boy (can’t beat a bit of ‘Pa rum pum pum pum’); I reserve a soft spot for Boney M’s version of Mary’s Boy Child (check out the video, pure gas) and I’m a sucker for Bing Crosby’s When a Child is Born, especially the talking bit. Hard to top that classic if blatantly untrue line: ‘And misery and suffering will be words to be forgotten forever.’ Bing obviously couldn’t know Covid was coming down the tracks. It only struck me this year how the lyric ‘Later on we’ll perspire, as we dream by the fire’ is altogether … unpleasant, so I came up with a few easy swaps for Christmas 2021: ‘Later on we’ll talk how things are dire’ or how about ‘We’ll hope Covid numbers won’t go any higher?’
• Anyway like thousands of others we’re now in limbo about our annual outing to the panto. Are we going? Oh no we’re not! Oh yes we are! Do we even want to chance it? Who even knows. The far more important question is will the schools close early for the holidays? That would pose a major problem for me and my list of things to do which currently has 84 things on it and I haven’t even got to ‘The Dinner’ section yet. But of course I would sacrifice my own sanity for the safety of the nation, after all it’s the season for giving.
• If you turn on the radio or TV at any time of the day or night between now and the 24th you’re guaranteed to get an earful on how to achieve the perfect roasties, the moistest turkey and the most succulent ham. I must admit I’ve little appetite for any of it this year, even if it’s coming from the very lovely Neven Maguire in his thick Cavan brogue (actually especially if it’s Neven Maguire in his thick Cavan brogue). Nigella is doing the rounds peddling her usual ‘fuss free’ Christmas, when in fact a recent study found her festive feast will take fans 41.5 hours to cook – that’s over one and a half days! And this year, of course, there’s the added pressure to go entirely plant based. Pigs in blankets are not really where it’s at right now. It’s enough to get me fantasising about Ibiza again.
• I haven’t started binging on the chocolates yet, but I am tucking into the new season of Selling Sunset on Netflix. I can’t get enough of anti-hero Christine Quinn. I’d say for sure she’s not devoting any time wondering how to get the fluffiest roasties. Next week let’s chat about the Sex and The City reboot. And sure ‘Just Like That,’ it will be January before we know it. Just as well really as the tree is already shedding like I don’t know what.