WOMAN ON THE VERGE: Christmas countdown is well and truly on

December 20th, 2022 3:30 PM

By Emma Connolly

It’s beginning to look a lot like my ‘To Do’ list is getting out of control. The clock is ticking for sure, but c’mon! It really is the most wonderful time of the year! (Photos: Shutterstock)

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If you’re not waking up in the middle of the night, and feverishly asking ‘is six types of potato enough do you think?’  then I don’t want to know you right now because that’s where my head is at and it’s only going to get worse as we embrace the final, frantic festive lap to get us to to the 25th!

THE going is only mighty isn’t it? There’s hardly even a minute to sit back and smell the poinsettia (before it wilts on day five, six if you’re lucky). It’s the exact same every year, but you sort of forget and get lulled into a false sense of festive security until … bam! You hit December 8th, everything cranks up a gear and it’s like a runaway train, actually make that a juggernaut, that you struggle to stay in control of until you get to the 26th, unclench your hands from the wheel and collapse in a corner in your onensie, cradling a tub of Quality Street and a chunk of Brie. I can’t wait. But until then, there’s nothing for it but to drive on, and if anyone needs to feel better about themselves, here’s where I’m at with ‘The Christmas’:

I’ve the decorations down from the attic and up – mainly. I’ve done what I always do … dash around like a mad woman and put things here, there and everywhere, all the while telling myself I’ll double back ‘at a later stage’ and tittivate things, make it look less like someone vomited ‘Christmas’ all over the house, and more like something you’d see in a glossy interiors magazine (ie tasteful). You’d have to love my optimism all the same. It never happens, and no one is any the wiser (not even the three chappies in the crib). I did the same thing when we moved into our house around five years ago. I plonked things in various corners to see how they’d feel, you know, figure out what sort of a vibe they gave off in different lights. They’re all still in the very same spot. Anyway, putting up the tree was a strangely joyous experience – mainly as it happened while I was at work. Joy to the world! Far from being offended that my husband and the six year old did it without me, I fell to bended knee in thanks when I came home. The 27 million decoration boxes have been dumped into the spare room ‘for now,’ but as no one is coming to stay for the Christmas (thanks be to the Baby Jesus) it just makes sense to leave them there until January 5th (or 10th. Sure January is a slow month). So, on the décor front, the only thing that’s bugging me is that this was meant to be the year that I got my act together and went for either all warm white, or all white lights, and not an unpleasant-to-look-at mix of both. Drat. Era, sure it will be ‘all white’ on the night.  

That’s that. So, until last week I was fully committed to the notion of a deep clean (high shelves, skirting boards and presses sort of job) but that’s clearly not going to happen now. Once upon a time would have caused me some anxiety but now, I’m totally fine with it. It’s not that I don’t get anxiety (riddled with it I am), it’s just that there are loads of other things ahead of the deep clean on the anxiety scale (mainly the mismatching lights). Between the fires and all the festive trinkets, we’ll be embracing the dust for the foreseeable. 

Don’t get me wrong, I have made progress on some fronts and ticked the obligatory ‘girls night out’ box. It was in Limerick. It was wonderful, great for the heart and the soul, but definitely not the head. These are ladies I’ve known from my college days, which was around 30 years ago. Now that I think about it, that’s quite impressive but to be honest I’d say we’re all too scared to break the friendships because we know far too much about each other. Anyway we came, we laughed, we cried, we laughed some more, and the next day we died, and we’ll do it all again next year. More joy to the world!

That date in the diary spurred me on to sort out a festive party outfit (which was the very same as last year’s ensemble but sure hardly anyone got to see it last year what with Covid and all, and there’s the planet to think of); get the nails and gruaig done and the tan sorted. So that’s all done. I mean they could all probably do with being done again before the 25th but there’s not a chance of that happening, even if I could get an appointment. I’d say there isn’t a hairdresser or beauty therapist in all of West Cork that has enough time to wax a lip between now and Christmas Eve. With the exception of myself, everyone else must be taking their festive grooming very seriously. 

We’ve also posted the letter to Santa (about time I know) and have been to see the man himself. We caught up with him at the Polar Express at the Model Railway Village in Clonakilty and it was a lovely experience. Such enthusiasm, magic and wonder. Well done to everyone involved. It was a slight pity our visit took place the day after my night in Limerick, and enthusiasm, magic and wonder weren’t how I was mainly feeling but still, another box ticked. 

I’m wondering if anyone else tucks gifts away in random places they’re sure they’ll remember afterwards … except they don’t. I don’t want to admit the time I’ve lost this week, rooting around various presses (including the hot press), high shelves (if only I’d brought the feather duster with me) trying to locate different bits and bobs without success. The middle aged brain will let you down, so  take my advice, and write things down.  

Anyway, there’s only a few things I’ve yet to locate, so all is good. I was totally intrigued by a huge box under the tree which is for me from the six year old and the husband. It’s too big to be homemade (thank the lord!) so I tried to get the six year old to give me a clue, and like all six year olds, it wasn’t hard to get her to spill. Is it an air fryer, I asked her. No, it’s definitely not an air fryer, she said. What room would you use it in, I asked.  The kitchen, she said emphatically. Does it have drawers? It does, she said. Is it Colonel Mustard in the library with a knife? She didn’t get that one. Ok, so you’re sure it’s not an air fryer, I persisted. Hmmm, what’s an air fryer? she asked. I told her, and her face said it all. You’ll have to wait and see, she said before running off shouting ‘Dad-eeeeee.’ Well, sure I‘ve only dedicated around two columns to it this year, so … be careful what you wish for. Could I air fry the turkey or the spiced beef I wonder? Surely the potato gratin, or what about the gravy? Pack in some stuffing?

Finally, I had planned on saving the Harry and Meghan Netflix special for over Christmas … the same way I had planned on saving that tube of Pringles I bought with the weekly shop last week. Not surprisingly I ended up gorging on both, at the same time, and ended up feeling really unwell. I think it was the Sussexes fault mainly. 


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