Christmas Day – you do all the work, the fat guy in the red suit gets all of the credit!

Miriam Kerins has some last-minute thoughts on that pending big day…

Mine’s a large JD and Coke, two pieces of ice and a slice of lemon, oh, er, on second thoughts, hold the Coke, ice and lemon; I forgot, Christmas is here!  Ah seriously folks, sure it’s a great time and I love it; and you’d have to be seriously Claus-trophobic (ha ha Geddit?) not to enjoy a visit from the big fat jolly guy in the red suit! However you’d also need to be Mother Theresa when your pervy uncle enjoys the spirit a bit too much, gets plastered and starts making passes at your very reserved next door neighbour.

  Oh yeah Christmas, or as I call it, the silly season, can be a right battlefield, especially when it involves, family, friends, food and, er, fornication – see above mentioned pervy uncle, and, as the Matriarch of the house, you…yes you mammy, get to do the plotting and planning and, as someone who used to cook Christmas dinner for 15 guests every year back in my native Dublin, I’ve put together a few simple tips that I hope will see you through; after that you’re on your own.

  Decide on a time for dinner and tell, text or send a PM on FB to all guests, giving them an earlier time to make sure there are no late arrivals. Remember to smile graciously at the ungrateful prat who idles through the door half way between the main course and dessert expecting you to interrupt your roast potatoes, jump up and make a fuss of him.  Fat bloody chance sunshine! And breathe…

  If someone offers you help, well personally “I’d say thanks, but I’ve got it sorted; all you have to do is arrive and enjoy your day!” (Cue sickly sweet smile). I’m a control freak in the kitchen and have no patience with those who get under my feet. Just plan early and do it your way because in my experience, if you want something done right…do it yourself! However as Christmas is a time for comfort and joy, delegate the clearing up and the washing up to that desperate to help guest.

  When serving pre-dinner nibbles, spare the good China and serve them on paper plates. Also, do what I do and cheat!  I’ve noticed the local shops all have a variety of delicious ready to heat and serve Christmas treats so don’t be a martyr; it’s not an endurance test and there’s no harm in duping your guests when it comes to the small stuff.

  When the turkey’s been demolished, when the honey glazed ham’s been picked to the bone, when three kilos of Roses have been scoffed – except for the orange ones – and when the Prosecco has been guzzled and you’ve regressed into that bitter aul wagon who has the same row with her interfering former sister-in-law year after bloody year; even if she is spoiling for a fight, back down…do what I do and remember that you can’t change the aul Grinch but you can change the way to react to her, so, for the sake of family harmony, smile like a demented hyena and ask her if she’s lost weight and say how wonderful she looks. Seriously; you’ll be the hero of the hour. 

  And finally; when your guests have strip mined your home of food and drink, when your day of stress and obligation has come to an end, and when you’re one bottle of body lotion short of being able to open your own gift shop, sit back…but don’t bother to congratulate yourself on a job well done because even though you’ve worked yourself into a Nigella like frenzy, remember, it’s always going to be the fat guy in the red suit who gets all of the credit.