|Around My Kitchen Table|
Yes, that’s the EastEnders Christmas special done for another year.
I hope the rest of us are well on the way to preparing for a joyous occasion. And to make the festive season go without a hitch, I have some tips to avoid the Christmas pitfalls.
- Be sparing with the red food colouring, otherwise your Christmas nibbles will look like you’ve accidentally sliced open an artery while cooking.
- Do not blindly follow last year’s Christmas card list. A certain percentage will have died, divorced, had a sex change or moved to Timbuktu, probably to get away from Christmas.
- Never do those Christmas quizzes which ask for things like your month of birth and the first letter of your name so they can ascertain your “Christmas fairy” name – not unless you want to be called Sparkly Knickers for the rest of your life by your young niece.
- Always leave your Christmas lights carefully wrapped around cardboard to avoid hours of frustration and rage as you try to untangle them, only to find three hours and a bucket of tears later they don’t work because one of the hundred bulbs has blown.
- Wrap up a box of chocolates so that if someone you weren’t expecting turns up with a present you can quickly write on the tag and give it to them, as if they were on your mind all the time. Make sure it’s chocolates you particularly like yourself so that if they’re not needed you can eat them after Christmas. Actually, better be on the safe side and wrap up two boxes of chocolates, plus a couple of bottles of red wine and maybe some nice perfume and that scarf from M&S you’ve had your eye on for a while.
- Do not offer to make Christmas decorations with children under the age of 10. By the time you’ve finished with all that glue, glitter and tinsel you will look like Liberace’s doppelganger.
- Don’t believe parents when they tell you their children are “just as happy playing with a cardboard box as the present inside”. I can assure you, you will get some very sideways looks if all you give their child is the old box your Amazon books came in. There’s just no pleasing some people.
- Gentlemen, do not buy your wife any kitchen appliance, “sexy” red underwear that’s too risque for a burlesque dancer or a woolly bed jacket that’s too boring for your granny, or a box set of Top Gear DVDs, a car-cleaning kit, any book by a super-model that tells you how they lost two stone in a week, or a Black and Decker drill – not unless she has expressly requested such a gift or you don't mind said gift being inserted into an orifice.
- Remember, just because that liqueur tastes like melted toffee swooshed around in cream, it still contains alcohol. A few glasses before cooking dinner is not recommended – as I found out one year when it was my turn to host Christmas dinner. Since then we have always eaten at my sister’s house, but I’m sure that’s a coincidence. Probably.
- Don’t forget to say well done to ALL the children in the nativity play, even though your nephew, Third Shepherd From The Right (the one with the crooked tea towel on his head kicking the child next to him) was the best by a country mile.
- Disconnect the front door bell so that if unwanted in-laws turn up, you can pretend you haven’t heard them.
- And finally, sweep the chimney, hang up your stocking and wait for Santa to bring you everything you have ever wished for.