Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Ready For Christmas?

Me? Ready for Christmas? You must be kidding.

If there's a phrase specifically designed to get many of us breaking into a cold sweat, it's that one. This is the time of year when hairdressers throughout the land switch from "been anywhere nice for your holidays?" to "all ready for Christmas, then?" and it's the one question which can engender feelings of woeful inadequacy in some people, sheer terror in others and put most women into a bit of a spin. I go in for all three, obviously.

In our house things follow a well-trodden path. Around now I start asking my grown-up family what delightful little prezzie they would like from Mummy and Daddy. The answer these days is usually, "dunno". They will let me know. At this point I often reminisce about how lovely it used to be back in the good old days when they sent letters to Santa (or Father Christmas as we used to call him), written in wobbly crayon and entrusted to me to dispatch to FC by means of lighting the note and letting it float up the chimney (a dangerous practice I know, and one the Fire Brigade used to condemn on a regular basis when they turned up to deal with our chimney fires, although I must admit they always used to enjoy the sherry and mincepies. I really miss those boys). But those innocent days are long gone, and now gifts get to be ordered direct, from source, i.e., John Lewis, Amazon or Argos, bypassing Santa and his little elves completely. How sad.

Husband is similarly "not bovvered". He is a man with everything, he says, and has the receipts to prove it. He tells me he honestly can't think of anything he really wants, which is nice in one way and sad in another. Of course, this feigned apathy will last right up until the day before Christmas Eve, when having given it a coat of thought he will decide, at the very last moment, that what he'd really, really like would be some obscure, out of print book, written by an obscure out of print author forty years ago, which gives me no chance at all of finding it before the big day. There won't, of course, ever be an ISBN number, just a vague description of the plot and what the front cover looks like. Really useful.

But me, well, I've always got a list. A long one. It's usually random, varied but never boring, and doesn't contain anything remotely useful or domestic. I'll ask for a bottle of Chanel No 5, but never an egg poacher. I like orchids in pots, or hyacinths in baskets, but definitely not gardening gloves. Slippers are a no-no especially if they look like they've escaped from a tart's bedroom, anything thermal will get the giver a thick ear rather than a thank-you note, and I absolutely hate gift sets. Apart from that, I am easy to buy for. It's everyone else who's the problem.

But when it comes to festive food, for me that's where the real potential for panic lies. Questions such as "made your puddings yet?" are enough to make me want to lock myself in the pantry until February. No, of course I haven't made my pudding yet, or ever will as long as I can buy a fantastically delicious one from our local deli at less than it would cost me to make it. Ditto quiche, paté and ham. And have I done my stuffings? Are they nestling in cling-filmed smugness alongside the home-made bread sauce in my giant size freezer? Bugger off, this is me you're talking to. Don't forget who reminded you that "life's too short to stuff a mushroom". In my case, that extends to peeling chestnuts or arsing about with breadcrumbs too. There is one thing I've ticked off the list, however, and that is I've orderd "the bird" - or more accurately I should say "several birds" because this year (if you're vegetarian, please look away now) we're having a turkey, stuffed with duck, stuffed with chicken and I think there's a partidge in their somewhere. Gross really. A sort of festive, poultry pile-up, as if the whole lot of them had been travelling in convoy across an icy farmyard and then suddenly, oops, the lead bird (the turkey in this case) had slammed on the brakes, not giving the following traffic time to slow down. A rear-end shunt of gourmet proportions. Come to think of it, that's not very nice really. Especially for the birds.

Actually, on reflection, I might change my mind about the turkey et al, now I've described it in terms of road-kill. It's put me off a bit. But now that means I've done nothing, absolutely nothing, to get ready for Christmas.

Apart from buying a sparkly frock, booking my hair appointments and getting my nails sorted, obviously.

Doing anything special for New Year?


Queeny said...

I'm ready, though there's some serious foot-dragging going on at my house. (Saw u at Wake Up's place)

Swearing Mother said...

Queeny, Hi. Have just come back from your blog, it's funny, funny, funny! Will be a regular visitor.

Thanks for dropping by.

Manic Mother Of Five said...

Hello lovely. Chuckling as ever reading your blog . Love the description of the poultry pile up - even as a vegetarian!!! I admire your sense of culinary adventure.

I have bought a couple of token presents and the "big" one for my boys - not saying what it is as they are cunning sods and highly IT savvy and I don't trust them a bit!

Wrapping BEGINS Christmas Eve at about 11. Husband and I settle down with plenty of alcohol and sticky tape and get pleasantly mellow. Its fab.

Love Christmas and REFUSE to work myself up into a state about it all. As for turkey - wouldn't know one end from the other! Husband gets some almighty steaks and the tribe feed their faces happy as larry.

Not terribly traditional in our house but hey, we have fun...

See you soon x

laurie said...

you made me laugh!

and your fire brigade bit reminded me of dylan thomas' "a child's christmas in wales," when the aunt comes downstairs and looks at the three tall firemen in their shiny boots standing amidst the soaking library and dissolving snowballs, and she says, "would you like anything to read?"

Swearing Mother said...

Hi MMOF, respect! Anyone who can still find one end of Sellotape from the other at 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve is some sort of hero!

Laurie, hello. That sounds like a great Christmas read. It's so nice to curl up with a good book when all the Christmas activity has calmed down a bit. Lovely.

Tina said...

Hairdressers, check. Nails, check. Posh frock, check. (Wore it last night, to a ball. A ball!) Presents? Erm, not so much. Some left over from son's birthday, when I decided he'd got too much. Otherwise nada, zip, absolutely f all.

Plenty of time SM. Plenty of time...

Mid-lifer said...

I never know what I want - just can't think. As for people asking if I've done my xmas shopping I become unreasonably incensed (see my blog on similar lines!)

Swearing Mother said...

Whoa Tina, a ball eh?? You are SO posh! We just had a Chinese and watched Jonathan Woss on the telly after I'd cleaned out the freezer. Wow.

Glad to hear you have your priorities right re hair, frock and nails. Stuff the turkey, I say, as long as we look like tasty birds that's all that really matters!

Swearing Mother said...

Hello Mid-Lifer, take absolutely no notice of the "done your Christmas shopping yet?" questions you will be bombarded with from now on, or just say "yes, completely, and it's all wrapped too".

That'll shut them up, you'll see.

Glamourpuss said...

Goodness me. I think as women, we are offered two choices when it comes to Christmas. Either we can be capable sorts who make our own Christmas cake (in July) and ice it at the beginning of December as the children bake gingerbread tree decorations. Or, we look pretty but ineffectual and wait for an invitation to someone else's house for Christmas, with no expectation that we will bring anything more than a bottle of fizz.

After flirting with the former option for a few years, I stepped firmly into the latter camp and as a consequence, am now quite fond of Christmas.

Good luck.


Swearing Mother said...

Think you've got something there Puss. As the hostess without the mostest, I make a very good guest.

Amy said...

I am a vegetarian, but I loved your rear-end poultry packing. Won't all the bones be hard to carve around? And how do you evenly cook all those stuffed birds?

Your gourmet endeavor reminded me of a particularly tragic episode of Ballykissangel. Ugh. I'm going over to YouTube for some happy clips....

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Amy,I know it really seems hideous now I come to think about it.

Apparently they're all "boned out" and, ugh..... don't really think I ought to tell a vegetarian the more gruesome details.

Stew said...

Swearing Mum - you mustn't let sqeamishness get in the way of a delicious meal.
It's a great idea to step away from the traditional every now and then and try something new. The "Tail-ended" turkey sounds superb.
One year we had goose, and another year a couple of duucks.
In France the traditional xmas fare is oysters and foie gras. At the supermarkets you can order plats de fruit de mer to be picked up christmas eve - oysters, prawns, crabs, mussles. Very different from turky and pud.
I've just blogged a (slightly) gory post on preparing pigeon

Swearing Mother said...

OOOOH Stew! That French festive nosh sound SO brilliant. Will be over to look at your gory game recipe, not sure about pigeons though. Rats with wings we call them over here.

Thanks for visiting BTW.

merry weather said...

Ha! I like your attitude, you've got the bird(s) and the dress and the humour - It sounds like a good recipe just as it is, bet Christmas is always lovely at your place!

Here we've got the decorations up now, complete with dangling 3 year old hell-bent on bringing it all back down again while his older brothers gnash their teeth in anguish.

I haven't bought a single present, but there's plenty of time to go before I get to the silent panic stage. I tend to avoid people who compare their Christmas strategies like the plague, just can't understand that cards done in November thing either...

Swearing Mother said...

Neither can I Merry, it's all a bit too controlled for my liking. Have just spent half an hour and done tons of shopping online, if it all comes I will be sorted! Just need a few oddments as little surprises from Father Christmas, you know the sort of thing.

And chocolate, of course, loads of chocolate. Will be getting our tree next weekend. Yay!!

Anonymous said...

I do a lovely Christmas - Cake is made by M and S, as is my pud.
Veggies - from the farm shop down the road all cleaned if you want. My Meat from a great butcher near my daughter and he does his own amazing cooked hams, roast pork etc
Stuffing - well no one eats that so I stuff with fruits easy.
Pressie -I buy through the year at sales etc and then I match up first week in December and fill any gaps.
Pressies for me - my husband is a problem, he has his own ideas of what I like and they never ever coincide with what I would like.
Therapy may be?

Swearing Mother said...

Ah Valleys Mam, that all sounds lovely apart from the husband/present thing. My husband just wraps up what I've bought myself and I pretend it's a surprise. Got fed up with red lace basques sometime ago!

dgibbs said...

A Chidurcky? Does sound gross now you've described it with such clarity. :D

My family needs a turkey with extra legs may just pin them on.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Hey, people meet at my place! I love it! I'm seriously dragging my heels about Christmas. Just can't get motivated.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

I knew there was a reason I loved you. You are a woman with her priorities straight.

Oh, you make me laugh.

Swearing Mother said...

Turkey legs, Dgibbs? Those are the bits we never eat, so I'll send you ours.

Hi Wakeup, and it's only twenty days to go, eeek!

Hiya RC: Looking forward to the festive PFO's at work (for those of you who don't work in a hospital, that mean's "pissed, fell over"), and drunken Santa's? Ho, ho, bloody ho.