The C Word

xmas pud

Swears warning. 

I sit here, exactly nineteen hours and seven minutes into December, and I’ve seen at least fifteen fully decorated trees just walking from my house to the corporate evil supermarket for a Saturday night stir in sauce.
It’s everywhere. In the shops. On the telly. On the radio. And in my fragile, fragile brain. Bloody Christmas.
It’s happened folks, for the first time in roughly fifteen years, I am The Boss Of Christmas. I’m staying home. I’ve got a week off. It is all mine to master and conduct, and it is with this deep and privileged point of responsibility that I say a hearty Fuck Christmas.

Yeah, you heard me!!!!!

Gah. There’s a lot of reasons I’m in charge this year, not least of all that the Mr is working a lot and it’s a long time since we saw The Mothership on December 25th so we are hosting rather than guesting. I was pleased enough about this. I sort of wanted this. I did it to myself, I did, and a nervous breakdown is pending. Yeah there’s cleaning and decorations and gifts and living with The Grinch Mark II all playing on my stress loads, but there is also The Dinner.
I am in charge of The Dinner for one vegetarian and 3-6 meat eaters, RSVPs pending. This shouldn’t be an issue, because it’s Christmas, it’s just a roast dinner, right?

WRONG!!!!!

So very, very wrong. Wrong because I have this terrible brain disorder that makes me remember what people do and don’t like and as much as I want to have a traditional lovely meal I don’t like 75% of Christmas food anyway but I’m going to have to make it all because it’s bloody Christmas!!!!!

My list of edible accommodations currently runs to:

  • A man who literally fades out if he doesn’t eat within fifteen minutes of getting out of bed.
  • A woman who won’t eat until she’s been up at least three hours.
  • The only vegetarian on the planet who won’t eat butternut squash or celeriac.
  • Several freaks who enjoy peel, marzipan, wet bread and over-application of cloves and nutmeg.
  • A brussels sprouts fascist.
  • A beetroot fascist.
  • Multiple fish fascists.
  • A citrus allergist.
  • People who don’t like festive cheese.
  • People who live for festive cheese.
  • Someone who has a small fridge that will only accommodate so much cheese.
  • Someone who can’t have too many nuts.
  • Coffee snobs.
  • A cake aficionado.
  • Michael Bublé fascists (seriously how can I cook without THAT cd on?!?!?!)
  • Goose fat refusers.

It’s bad enough trying to plan a Christmas for normal people. There’s so much to consider. Like, does brining make any difference other than to your Instagram profile? How big a marinade bag do I need for an ambiguously proportioned 7-9lb bird? How long will sprouts keep in the conservatory for? Does anyone even like cranberry sauce? Isn’t meat free, wheat free, nut free, citrus free stuffing basically just raisins?
Seriously if I start drinking now, I still won’t be up to coping with this. Which is ridiculous because it is literally one massive meal and a load of late night pate that no one needs.
A massive meal for people who are doing me the honour of coming to my humble drafty bolt hole of a house for the mass of the Jesus himself. They love me, I love them, and not to mention I can really cook. I can do this! I know I can, though I must confess that a bad work week, my ongoing self sabotaging hormones and early but all-encompassing Festive Fatigue Syndrome had me tempted to cancel the entire bloody thing today.
Because I don’t have a turkey pan or a tree like my numerous perfect bloody neighbours and their stupid twinkly blue window lights.
Because I will not suffer clove and clementine flavoured everything.
Because it’s too hard to make it perfect for everyone and impossible to make it traditional for anyone when we have at best three, and at worst five, different family histories to encompass.
Christmas is hard, and I don’t want to try.
I don’t want to be that stereotypical middle aged hag in the kitchen, crying into her chardonnay until it’s time to eat a meal she has no appetite for while tasting nothing and glaring at every chew, sniff and cutlery rattle from each and every guest.

When did I become this???

When I got to be The Boss Of Christmas.  And The Boss Of Christmas has to do, and cook, stuff they don’t like. Because it’s Christmas, and I want all these bastards to enjoy themselves. That’s the kicker. I want them to have a nice Christmas day, and I’m in a position to ruin it all. Christmas dinner is a grim responsibility indeed.
I also have to make compromises on what I want, and I’m not very good at that.  This in itself leads to the mixed blessing that is having a massive family. I am absolutely accepting to the fact that I can’t see everyone I want to on Christmas Day, who of us honestly can? But that doesn’t stop me missing them, and so many Christmas traditions are directly linked to family members that the whole thing becomes somewhat unavoidably drenched in separation anxiety. And my family are really into their food, so menu planning is where this really hits me. Clementines in stockings that go immediately back into the fruit bowl. Endless canapes. Champagne cocktails and Neil Diamond. Weird herby liqueurs. Toblerone. A kid’s bed full of quality sweet wrappers. Cut glass dishes of turkish delight and hand turned sauces. Old man beer and roast potatoes. You can’t do it all, apart from anything else we’d all end up in hospital. I still want to do it all though.

On the plus side, I’m really happy to be waking up with the dubious blessing that is my Mr in our own home for Christmas, which has literally never happened before.
I’m glad to have The Mothership here being excited about so much random festive nonsense that I love, but no-one else quite gets, and all the childish accommodations she will insist upon despite me being almost 40.
I’m glad for my Step Dad getting the coffee on and being comically grumpy about all Christmas music that isn’t the Pogues and backing me up in the Champagne Supporters Movement.
I will be glad if She-In-Law makes it to enjoy whatever I cook because The Family In Law have very few compulsory Christmas Laws at all, which is a huge relief.
I’m glad for the Mr-In-Law for having set the precedent in 2016 that means no matter how early you hit the sauce, it could be worse. It could be a pre 0700 hours warm tin of Hooch lemonade.

Oh, it will all be alright. I am sort of looking forwards to it.

But it won’t be perfect because there won’t be enough types of sauce, because I can’t be bothered. And also because nothing is perfect in a world where everyone’s dinner is a Roux worthy instagram post sponsored by a vegan fitness model with their own multi million pound donkey rescue charity. It’s hard to remember sometimes that it’s ok to not be perfect. It’s ok to get a pre-done M&S mushroom wellington thing for the veggies. It’s ok to not have yorkshire puddings because they are against the law with turkey. It is ok to not be everything. In a scmaltzy self care way, we must all remember that we are enough, and it’s just a bloody dinner.

I am, of course, not going to cancel the entire bloody thing that is Christmas. I’m not making any bread sauce, either.

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