1.Warring siblings – after the unedifying sight of my grown up brothers chasing each other round the dining table and out into the garden for a bout of fisticuffs, my step Granny politely declined any further invitations for Christmas. If in doubt throw them out to cool off, whatever their age.
2.Faking it – there is nothing wrong with a fake tree apart from the fact it is FAKE ! Greenery is good especially if its free so I am big on ivy (off the neighbour’s barn, they are delighted I take it ) but if there’s no free greenery, go big on lights, glitter, glitz and fake it with panache. Just remember to dust the fake tree after a stint in storage.
3. Stockings – for children , fine, keeps them occupied early in the morning. For adults, bit of a bore all that extra wrapping. For animals, are you f***ing crazy?
4. Church is a good thing as it uses up time when war might break out. Up to you whether you opt for Midnight Mass or the family service on Christmas Day. We have animals that need tending to so go to Midnight Mass. You could of course up your smugometer and do both.
5. Expensive crackers are for show-offs, the tat is a little less tacky and the jokes are no funnier. Please remember you are not trying to recreate a Lidl ad, just get through another day.
6. Booze, champagne lots of it. The longer they drink they more they will sleep, fantastic.
7. The turkey and when to eat it is of course governed by the QUEEN’S SPEECH. You either go early lunch which means turkey in the oven horribly early or late lunch more leisurely on the turkey front but more snacking to soak up the alcohol. Waiting for the evening seems a bit if a drag to me. Remember its only like cooking a Sunday roast with a bigger bird and extra trimmings. Follow Delia to the letter and you’ll nail it.
8. Top Delia Tip: check the far reaches of the oven , there may be some trimmings in there you forgot about and charcoal the next day ain’t so tasty as crispy chipolatas. ENJOY ! (ghastly phrase)
9. Waifs and strays are all part of the Christmas spirit. My parents excel at this and we have had the terminally ill, would be suicides and the deranged smelly drunk (that’s just my brother). We like to run a book on who will make it back for the following year. I prefer to donate to Crisis at Christmas, less stressful and more productive.
10. Hunt the thimble for the under fives and Cards Against Humanity for everyone else particularly when completely trollied at the end of a long day.
11. Presents: DO NOT GIVE GOATS. How is your teenager going to feel if you give a family in Africa a goat when all their mates have the new iPhone ? The milk of human kindness will not overfloweth is my guess.
12. Friends or family? After more sibling rivalry getting out of hand we now do a low key affair at home, let them get it out of their system and then do Boxing Day at my parents. A drink with friends is lovely but you could get wife rivalry in the kitchen if sharing the cooking. Old Russian proverb: two women in the kitchen = WW3 YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED ! At the moment we don’t have to worry about exes or steps so not sure I can advise here but try to be kind even if they are total horrors.
HAPPY CHRISTMAS! It is only once a year….HOORAY!!