Just over a week to go, and the stress levels are around about just where they should be for this joyous time of year.
Once again, everyone is walking around saying the same old thing. How crazy it is that for the sake of a couple of days, we all act as if we are once again on the brink of nuclear war – our cupboards will somehow empty overnight and we will be forced to suck on a 3 year old OXO cube and scratch around for the assorted stale cheese crackers that nobody got around to eating on Boxing Day last year. So to prevent such a national disaster, we buy more food than we do for the rest of the year put together and then spend the entire holiday time with our snouts firmly pushed into the festive trough, consuming more than our own body weight in Quality Street. It all makes perfect sense.
Despite trying to get ahead of myself and sort out the Christmas shopping 6 months ago, I have once again fallen into that predictable trap of buying far more from Father Christmas than he could ever squeeze on his sleigh. Far more than the stocking can actually hold come to think of it. Our bed is currently 2 foot higher off the ground than it should be, and precariously balanced on a baking set, a body board and 3 noodles.
With my daughter having a bigger beak than Big Bird, when it comes to sticking it into things that don’t concern her, it’s a miracle that she hasn’t yet clocked the suspiciously lumpy pile of bags in the corner of our bedroom. The pile ever so subtlety hidden with a sheet. Of course she still believes that everything she gets is handmade up in the North Pole, by 2 foot creatures with pointy ears and bells on their shoes, so I suppose she has no reason to start rooting through cupboards. Those times I’m sure will come.
The whole ritual of buying Christmas presents is a little bit like doing a drug-fueled supermarket dash. When else would you start rushing around the shops in a state of heightened panic, desperately looking for something to give to those nearest and dearest to you. It becomes less about what they might actually want or need, and more about quota, quantity and present dimensions under the tree. Of course it doesn’t help that everyone always tells you they don’t need anything. They say not to worry, and not to spend too much money. That doesn’t really help much. Saying don’t get me anything and meaning it are 2 very different things…
We finally put our tree up on Sunday. Or rather we pulled it out of the loft, checked it over for red backs and built it. Nothing screams festive cheer more than sorting 100’s of colour coded branches into piles all over the floor, and then being scratched to buggery trying to put them all together. I miss having a real tree. In the UK half the fun was going along to a Christmas tree farm, picking out a top of the range, silver Norwegian spruce that was always 2 foot higher than your ceiling would allow, and then handing over half the months mortgage money to pay for it.
Somehow something from a box doesn’t have quite the same atmospheric charm. Then again it also doesn’t shed needles for a solid month and send the Dyson into meltdown for the next 6.
Assembling the tree was actually the easy bit. Fighting with the lights was the part that had me sweating and cursing into the synthetic branches. After I unraveled them, carried them from one flat surface to another, unraveled them again, moved them to the tree, unraveled them again, and then finally wrapped them around the tree – I found out that half of the bloody lights didn’t even work. Half an hour later, after checking each and every bulb, they were finally up and on the wretched tree. Of course on a scale of brightness, they let out about as much twinkle as they would, had they been powered up by an egg timer, but who really cares when they are to be buried under 2 tonne of tinsel.
All that being said and done, apart from the 2 days of cleaning, 12 hours making, cooking and burning mince pies and 6 solid hours of present wrapping ahead of me, there isn’t an awful lot still to do. Half of the freezer is currently monopolised by a turkey and the bottom shelf of the fridge is hiding a rather disgusting looking ham, wrapped in 4 plastic bags so I don’t have to look at it.
Now if only those presents that I ordered months ago off the Internet would actually show up, I’d say I’m almost home and dry….
I wouldn’t normally empty the contents of my in-box onto my blog, but this one I thought was particularly funny, and summed up exactly how 99.5% of the adult population probably feels in the run up to C Day….
When four of Santa’s elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the Pre-Christmas pressure.
Then Mrs Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more.
When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where.
Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered.
Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drank all the cider and hidden the liquor. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.
Just then the doorbell rang, and irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree. The angel said very cheerfully, “Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn’t this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?”
And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.