The bread and cranberry sauces are made and in the freezer (Delia said it's okay, so panic not). An army of mincepies sit patiently in cake tins. And I've just ordered my husband's present, which should (fingers crossed) arrive on the 24th. There are, however, a few things I need to do, for example, restock the advent calendar. We have one of those ones you re-use year-on-year, a twee plywood Victorian townhouse with little drawers to fill with chocolates. I raided days 21 onwards last night (the chocolate called to me relentlessly from nine pm; little muffled clamouring that I wasn't strong enough to ignore). I need to ice the cake and make the brandy butter, but otherwise I am, most would note (possibly with a little envy), really quite organised. This is unusual. Organisation is a gene I don't possess. I forget assemblies, I run out of milk, I'm always the last one through the school gate in the morning, I double book social events, I forget to wash uniform...the list of errors in the ridiculous chaos that is my life is endless. So, unsurprisingly, as well as the sauces in the freezer there is also a pile of unsent birthday thank you cards written by my two oldest children three weeks ago that I failed to send on, my godchildren's presents still sit, unposted, in carrier bags in the hallway, and I have just announced that we are replacing Happy Christmas cards with Happy 2012 cards. (I am peddling the line that this is a statement of my individuality, a small rebellion if you like. We all know the truth...)
However, I have had to work hard to battle this innate disorganistion, because, on paper, the next ten days look horrendous. The family (my parents, grandmother, and sister's crowd) are coming to us on Christmas Day, we have friends for supper on Boxing Day, three families joining us on the 29th, and four families, staying (yes, staying) on New Year's Eve. It's a social train wreck. I predict death and destruction (my husband's death, my sanity's destruction). But rather than panic I have frozen the sauces. I have also remembered to have my annual haircut, then if all else goes tits-up at least my hair will look good. And anyway, my mother likes me coiffed, it's actually her ideal Christmas present: me, coiffed and not weaing my muddy old jeans. (Happy Christmas, Mum!). Slight problem with the haircut: while I was resolutely ignoring the grumpy old crone, with her frightful, pale and tired-looking face, staring out from the mirror in front of me, I lost concentration and, without thinking properly, said to the teenage colourist the fatal words: "Do something Christmassy. Something fun. Suprise me!" I should have noticed the glint in her eye, the gleeful set of her mouth, the speed with which she dashed off to prepare the colours for my highlights. When I opened my eyes three hours later the old crone had pinkish stripes in her hair, a cross between a tabby cat and Amelia Lily, only with wrinkles. More worryingly the old crone appeared to be me.
So with frozen sauces, pink hair, and the spectre of Christmas cards removed, I am ready, as ready as I'll be. The only thing left to worry about is the bird. I had no idea how expensive a free-range Turkey was. I have remortgaged the house to pay for ours. I presume the beast was fed exclusively on smoked salmon, caviar and lobster tails, that it slept in a gilded nest on the top floor of the Savoy Hotel with views of Buckingham Palace, and was treated to daily massages with it's best friend, Wagyu Cow. Considering I think I prefer chicken to turkey anyway, the knowledge that I could have bought two chooks for a fifth of the price of this Prince of Birds is weighing heavily. Will the damn thing fit in the oven? Will I overcook it? Will I drop it? The pressure is tampering with my hairdo. If I had one wish, it would be that I was the Queen or Victoria Beckham, and had Delia on speed dial. I'm not and I don't, so I suppose it's just old fashioned hope and a very large glass of gin.
Happy Christmas! I hope you get a good walk in, enjoy the Ab Fab Christmas special and get at least one purple one from the Quality Street tin.
See you on the other side...