Well, it’s official. I’m a grown up. I have hosted Christmas in my own house, and everyone survived it. In fact, possibly, everyone enjoyed it – although given I had sinusitis throughout, depriving me of the senses of smell, taste and hearing, I’m probably not really qualified to comment on that.
I cleaned and prepped the house like my life depended on it, braved Westfield Stratford City on 22ndDecember, despite thinking I’d bought everything I could possibly need, gave a pre-Christmas party for seven three-year-olds, paid a sum of money for the organic turkey which frankly suggests it should have made the stuffing and cooked itself, hung and filled the stocking, left the snacks for Father Christmas and the reindeer, baked and iced the Christmas cake, baked and iced the Yule log, made the trifle, bought bottles of spirits not solely intended for my own consumption that evening (how grown up is that?), got up crack of dawn on Christmas Day to cook the turkey etc etc.
Literally could not have done it without my dad, who was at my side throughout doing all the boring bits which actually make it work – endless onions chopped, carrots sliced and potatoes peeled, and also making the best stuffing ever. Or my husband who did all front of house stuff – tables decorated, drinks poured, conversations started, present giving organised. Or my brother and sister-in-law, who played endless games and puzzles from the Peppa Pig annual with their niece, and spent Christmas afternoon constructing Playmobil models. Or my mum, who lent me most of her kitchenware, bought M&S out of biscuits and chocolate, and bakes the best mince pies ever. Or my mother-in-law, who took a taxi across London clutching not only her presents to the whole family, but an enormous cooked ham, a dish of brandy butter, another of bread sauce and two bottles of champagne – basically everything I’d either forgotten or couldn’t face making. Or my daughter, whose look of wide-eyed, anticipatory rapture on the landing on Christmas morning made the whole thing worthwhile.
Despite everyone’s incredibly generous help, and the fact that creating childhood memories for my daughter is magical, it was bloody hard work, and I’m retrospectively much more appreciative of my parents for all my childhood Christmases. I had no idea!
Happy New Year!