Three years ago my parents downsized and decamped from the family home. So this is the 3rd year I have hosted the annual Bond Christmas dinner (conversely on Boxing day) and the 3rd year I have been far too stressed about serving raw turkey and seating fifteen comfortably, to enjoy the experience.
This is OK though. I have learnt that it is all over by Christmas dinner anyway. All the festive glow and warm, cosy, seasonal cheer has well-evaporated by the time the main event comes. I now make sure that I have sucked dry the glad tidings from every early opportunity I can, long before we hit Christmas week.
- November is when my Christmas playlist gets its first airing. Every car journey, no matter how short, is accompanied by the instrumental music to Home Alone. Every. Single. One.
- Around this time is when I start scouring the Good Food Channel for repeats of Nigella's and Jamie’s festive offerings from years gone by. Nothing is as christmassy as watching five different recipes for roast potatoes in one evening. Promise.
- Christmas shopping is a nightmare. Yeah, really. Yet there is something lovely about being around the bustle when you smugly know you’re all done, and don’t need to search for that elusive present for the random in-law. I will train it into town at some point next week, just so I can wander about with a cup of tea, get cold, and be excited at the feeling of it all.
- Now that we are well into December, I get to watch proper Christmas films. Prior to December, I make do with Christmas specials of TV programmes. So far I’ve seen off Midsomer Murders, Poirot, and Gavin and Stacey. Now that we’ve reached the twelfth month, it’s time for the real deal. Classics such as It's A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and more recently Elf, are all essential viewing. (At the time of writing, Elf has yet to appear on the schedules. There aren’t many films I will regress to watching on DVD, but this is one). Obvs it is the law, but no Christmas film can be watched without fairy lights on, main lights off. Standard.
- Finally, a recent tradition (blame Nigella) is ham. The Domestic Goddess has convinced me it is of the UTMOST importance that a ham should be cooking, pretty much 24/7 all through December. I am restricting myself to participating in this tradition for 23rd and 24th December only, when I will be recreating her twenty-four hour, black treacle ham recipe for the second year running.
With all that seasonally cheery build up, I really won’t care a jot come Boxing Day, about who has to sit on an upturned laundry basket to eat, or who has become a vegetarian since the previous year. I will be prosecco-ed up to my eye balls, and long past worrying.
Season's Greetings one and all.