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Kirstie Allsopp is right - we should all have a lazy Christmas

PUBLISHED: 12:53 15 December 2018 | UPDATED: 08:02 17 December 2018

Kirstie Allsopp says her nanny wraps the presents - good on her, says Sharon Griffiths Picture: Steve Parsons / PA.

Kirstie Allsopp says her nanny wraps the presents - good on her, says Sharon Griffiths Picture: Steve Parsons / PA.

Archant

Sharon Griffiths says it is time we all stopped making such an effort - even if we haven't got a nanny like Kirstie

Well, hooray for Kirstie Allsopp for revealing the truth about Christmas – not even she can do it all.

It turns out that while she’s lecturing the rest of us on how to make hand-made Christmas decorations (surely only for small people under ten?) she’s actually getting the nanny to wrap her children’s Christmas presents.

Fair enough.

If I had a nanny, I think I’d get her to do that too. There’s nothing like an evening battling with the sticky tape to kill the magic of Christmas dead.

But Kirstie also pays someone to decorate the fireplace in her house in Devon and wrap the garlands around the house in London. AND spray fake snow on the windows. The way you do.

So if the Mistress of the Hand Made and Organised hasn’t got time to do it all, what hope for the rest of us?

Mothers who do everything are superheroes.

They are also absolutely shattered and probably ready to snap. Or hit the gin bottle. Or both.

I was once that mother – everything hand-made, including hundreds of canapes for drinks party on Christmas morning.

What kind of idiot gives a drinks party on Christmas morning when she’s already got a house filled to the rafters with over-excited children, drunken uncles and dyspeptic grannies?

Me, that’s who. Madness.

I was probably the only mother up and about before the excited children, wondering if 4am was too early to start drinking…

Trust me. It really, really isn’t worth the effort.

We still have a house full but absolutely no drinks parties. And, with the wisdom of bitter experience, I take every short cut going. Marks and Spencer haven’t invested millions of pounds in developing their party food range for me to think I can do better.

Ever since the little incident with too much champagne and a roasting tin full of turkey and bubbling fat, I cook the turkey on Christmas Eve too. Prevents accidents, frees the oven and it means we can have our leftovers first – hot turkey sandwiches when we come in from the pub/church. Wonderful.

Our decorations are not themed – as dictated by articles in glossy magazines probably written by 18 year olds who just go home to Mum – neither are they fashionable or expensive. Just random and familiar. Some even date back to Woolies, which tells you all you need to know.

Our crackers are cheap and cheerful – because classy cracker presents are no fun for the children. (Nail clippers? Egg cup?) Sprouts are banned. Chocolate Santas are an acceptable breakfast and anyone not going to church has to have the fire lit, the coffee brewed and the champagne chilled by the time the rest of us get back.

It’s meant to be fun. Remember?

Your children won’t even notice if the decorations are hand-made, from Harrods or Wilkos.

But they WILL remember if you’re so overwrought about doing it all that you burst into tears because you’re just shattered from trying to do too much.

So make this the Christmas you don’t try so hard. If only for your children’s sake.

What’s happened to houseboats?

Many years ago I lived on a houseboat on the river in Southampton. It was a scruffily cheerful community of boats, ramshackle jetties, multi coloured sheds, vegetable plots and chicken runs.

The site had once been a Bronze Age farmstead, then Roman fort, Saxon cemetery and medieval manor. Digging our gardens, we often found bits of pottery or bones, an occasional coin or ancient nails.

When I went back last weekend, the area was transformed. Very swish. Everything ramshackle had been swept away to make room for gleaming new riverside apartments. Now it’s all remote control gates, fancy drives, pristine lawns, proper moorings and pretentious names. It’s as if our little community never existed.

But I still hope that the occasional random cabbage might force its way through those perfect lawns and a ghostly chicken or two might sometimes cluck on an immaculate balcony.

However far away the past, however much we try and re-write it, it never goes away. It’s always just under our feet, waiting to re-surface….

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