Christmas is one of the most traditional holidays, and every year we are developing our skills on how to prepare the gifts and home for the upcoming holiday.
There are DOs and DON’Ts, these simple rules are pretty logical and easy, so do not hesitate to read them all.
1. On no account think: “If she is doing it, I bloody well am”
Some people like to make their own Christmas cake and decorate it with tiny handmade reindeer. You may be that person. But if you have hitherto shown no signs of being that person, for God’s sake don’t decide to give yourself this, or any similar challenge, in the days leading up to Christmas. That would be like experimenting with a Mia Farrow pixie cut in the week before your wedding. Not the moment.
2. Never buy the shiny metallic wrapping paper (the Sellotape won’t stick)
Or the really cheap wrapping paper (it rips). Or the really thick wrapping paper (it won’t fold). There are few things more liable to tip you over the edge than buying four metres of expensive wrapping paper you find you can’t actually wrap the presents with, come Christmas Eve.
3. Don’t wait until Christmas Eve to wrap the presents
That is just asking for trouble, because of the likelihood of wrapping issues and the inevitability of present meltdown. This occurs when you look at the assembled presents and realise, a) that you can’t remember where you hid the big one for the youngest; b) it looks a lot like the middle one is getting way more than the others; and c) on reflection, you definitely need to rethink the eldest one’s, because now it looks very much like what it is. (It goes without saying the last-minute shop is an excellent idea if you are a professional shopper. Otherwise, forget it.)
4. Don’t buy clothes for people unless you are absolutely sure of their size
The far too small top and the horribly capacious down-to-your-knees one are both equally depressing to open.
5. Do not get seduced by those “classics with a twist” recipes
It started back in the Noughties with Nigella and the goose-fat roasted potatoes and since then the urge to improve and embellish has taken hold. Now there is a certain pressure to jazz up your Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and pancetta and glaze your carrots with honey and thyme.
But ask yourself this: do I want to add 12 ingredients, double the preparation time, and ratchet up the hassle on the day, just because some cooks are flogging recipe books? When you find yourself wondering how Mary Berry cooks her turkey, when you’ve been cooking the turkey for years, just say no. This is all so much self-sabotage and you have cooked more roast potatoes than the lot of them put together. Possibly not including Mary.