Whilst this time of year is mostly super lovely and sparkly and full of Christmas cheer (which I love – Christmas starts in our house on 1st Dec), it can also be pretty stressful at times – the list of things your kids need, must make, must wear, must attend for school related stuff goes on and on; finances can be a worry (£64 for just one PS4 game W.T.F!!!) and simply trying to keep on top of everything and being super-organised can be a trial in itself – arghhhh! It’s at this point that ideally, someone would hand me a massive bucket of sand for me to stick my head in, so I can opt out for a bit … Sadly, this has never happened so it’s a case of taking a deep breath in, grabbing a pen and paper and (in my case) writing a BIG to-do list.
With not long now until the BIG DAY, a slight feeling of panic is always lurking close by and a serious amount of ridiculous questions: have I got enough pressies for the kids? what about stocking fillers? have I bought pressies for everyone else? what shall I get for this year’s secret santa (who ever thought this was a great idea?)? what if I run out of wrapping paper? when do I buy the turkey? how do I best cook the turkey (Nigella’s recipe or Jamie?)? where’s the best deal on big tubs of chocolates? how much weight will I put on (do I care? how will I get rid of it in the New Year if (who am I kidding!) – when I do?)? What about prosecco (thank goodness for proseccowatch.com !) … it can be tooooooo much!
Back to the list. For me, this is the best way of getting some kind of control.
Actually, the list becomes a list of lists. For me it’s the only way. I divide my lists in to 3 🙂
1. A list for myself, my partner and all three kids with dates and times: where is everyone, any playdates, parties or meet-ups with friends and family, and what each needs to take, wear or bring. This list is all about the logistics!
2. Then it’s on to the still-outsanding-presents list – what’s still to be bought and for whom (and even which shop – bit too much?). Wrapping paper and similar stuff goes on the list – as does a date for the actual wrapping – if it’s on the list it will get done … eventually.
3. Finally, it’s the food and booze list – what do we still need for the big day? At this point I have to remind myself that basically Christmas Day food is simply the usual roast dinner but on a bigger scale and with prosecco, (too many) chocolates and a yummy pudding thrown in for good measure – it’s about persepctive and all that. Of course there are little treats and yummy extra’s but to be honest, as long as the usual suspects (turkey, crackers …) are on the list, the rest can be grabbed once on a trolley-dash around the supermarket? Winging-it style right?
Once the lists have been completed, I do feel better, for sure – it’s a case of getting on with stuff and getting through those lists and the satisfaction of crossing through those to-do’s! Hooray 🙂
Fianlly, a word of ‘warning’ – if you’re anything like me and have crazy port-induced ideas about home-baking EVERYTHING a la Jamie and Nigella in order to create the perfect Christmas, can I suggest that, yes, enjoy the indulgence of reading and watching all the Christmassy cook books and TV shows but rather than try to recreate new stuff, instead simply stick to only what you already know and can do best – maybe it’s fab roast potatoes or gravy, or amazing mince pies but don’t even think about creating brand new recipes or new cocktail creations on Christmas Eve – keep it simple I say!
By the way, my go-to no-bake but homemade recipe that I make all-of-the-time is Nigella’s rocky roads – everyone loves them and a simple dusting of icing sugar, edible glitter and some carefully placed mini-reindeer (totally kitsch) turns these easy-makes in to Christmas-ready scrummylicious sweet-treats!