Let me be very clear, I LOVE Christmas. I love the colours and the smells and the food and the presents and everything else that goes with it but, like many people, I can find it very stressful.
Every year I spend months dreaming of the perfect family Christmas featured on the supermarket adverts and when you add that to the fact that I usually border on ‘slightly obsessive control freak’ you can see my dilemma.
Everyone keeps telling me not to worry about it all, that it’s not important, but it is to me. My family helps me in so many practical and emotional ways and the way I give back to them is through my kitchen. My dining table is where we, as an extended family, celebrate birthdays and holidays and in a few weeks it will be the turn of Christmas. I just have to work out how to get through it without turning into either a shrieking harridan or an emotional wreck.
One thing I’ve realised is that lowering my standards or relinquishing control to others is not an option. These actions do not relieve my stress, they make it worse. It’s important to me that my Christmas table looks perfect and is groaning with food that tastes amazing so I just need to find a way to make it happen.
My gift shopping is all but done and my sister in law will be coming to do the wrapping next week. Luckily for me she’s as obsessive about nicely wrapped gifts as I am about creating the perfect chestnut stuffing. So, with all that taken care of I can turn my full attention to the actual day and after some careful thought here is my personal five point plan for surviving Christmas:
a) Don’t let anyone else cook!
b) Don’t let anyone else lay the table!
c) Don’t cook sprouts or Christmas Pudding – everyone hates them so they’re a waste of time!
d) Don’t do any washing up – this is something I am prepared to let others do!
e) Be grateful that my family understands how important this is to me and lets me get on with it with only minimal teasing and smart comments!
It’s not rocket science but it works for me and I think I secretly enjoy carrying a little stress on Christmas Day. It makes me feel important, loved and at the centre of my family and that is what Christmas is about after all.
Now if only I could stop the kids from hanging baubles on the tree in a non symmetrical manner….