Ten top tips.
Christmas is rubbish for women. There, I've said it. Bah humbug and all that. It is we who bear the burden even in the most emancipated households. Buying the cards, writing the cards, buying the presents, wrapping the presents, inviting the rellies, avoiding the rellies, buying the food, cooking the food, decorating the tree, the house, the front door, ourselves, on and on it goes.
This year I can't be bothered with it, but I do have to do something because I have three children. So, here's my slacker’s guide to the perfect mum-friendly Christmas 2012.
1.) Christmas cards. Don't buy them, or write them. Who's going to know? I haven't done cards for four years now and I'm really not sure anyone has noticed. Well, okay, maybe there are fewer and fewer dropping through the letterbox in our house at this time of year as a result, but do I mind? Not really. Now I don't have to find some arty way of displaying them so that they don’t fall down every time someone opens the front door.
2.) And whatever you do, do NOT write some sort of ghastly round-robin email thing all about how well Veronica did in her GCSEs this year. I will never speak to you again if you do.
3.) Don't go near the shops, ever, not once. Order everything from Amazon (bury your principles, they are too costly) with child standing at your elbow dictating exactly what he wants. Surprises are for losers. They take time, effort and planning and the recipient invariably hates the result. And don't go near the supermarket for food shopping. Get Ocado to deliver if you are posh and like to throw your money around for no good reason, Sainsburys or Tesco if not.
4.) Don't go out looking for the perfect shaped, emerald green, triangular Christmas tree every blinking year, get a plastic one from Argos and stick it in the corner. It's better for the environment and won't drop needles everywhere. You could even leave it there for next year, just push something in front of it, like a grandfather clock if you're posh and like to waste money at Waitrose, an Ikea hat stand if not.
5.) Stuff the turkey. And by that I mean don't get one. I gave everyone raging salmonella a few years back after basting the germ-ridden beast with a pastry brush that I then used on some brochetta after only a cursory dunk under a warm tap. Get beef instead, there is no prep required and you don't have to get up in the middle of the night to put it in the oven.
6.) Crackers! Just don’t invite the in-laws, tell them you're taking the kids to Egypt this year because it will be cheap with all that Tahrir square stuff going on. Oh I see, not that sort, the ones you put on the table. Okay, don’t buy fancy ones that cost £12 each and that still have plastic crap and rubbish old jokes inside them anyway. Remember those ones you bought half price in the supermarket straight after Christmas last year? Dig them out of the cellar/attic and use them for once. And if you didn’t buy them half-price at the supermarket last year, get with the programme for 2013.
7.) School Christmas play. Okay, so you have to skip work and and sit in a boiling hot school hall jammed up against a radiator near the back at 9.30 in the morning, so use the time wisely: for napping. You will need the energy later - see 10.
8.) Wrapping presents. I’m going to be serious here for a minute because this is a serious matter and I can’t think of a way to get out of it, so, I’ll give you my invaluable top tip. Set up the ironing board out of the way somewhere - the guest room is good if you have one, if you are posh and shop at Waitrose and have a grandfather clock - have the paper/tape/scissors all ready and every time you pass that room nip in and wrap one present while standing at ironing board. It will save your back. Obviously the downside is that it will take three weeks, on and off, to get it all done this way so you had better start now. Or last week.
9.) Don’t bother trying to set Sky Plus to record Downton Abbey. By the time you get to sit down to watch it before/after/during Christmas you will be so exhausted you'll snore/dribble all the way through.
10.) And don’t bother buying/wrapping present for your other half. Come on, we all know what he really wants, and it is Christmas after all, just give it to him. For once.
Not a complete slacker then coz I made this cake last year.