It is 5.58am on Christmas Eve and I am awake. Since I have no other reason to be so at this time, I can only conclude that the Christmas Panic is setting in. The cold, clammy fear that the roast potatoes won’t be crispy enough, the vegetarian centrepiece won’t be showy enough, and the alcohol will unceremoniously run out midway through the morning (Bargain Beers on the local High Street is open on Christmas Day folks! This won’t happen!)
But yet the Panic still persists.
I don’t usually have sleepless nights over whether we have enough orange juice in the house to last the whole day that the shops may be closed, but this is what Christmas appears to have done to me.
This is the first year that I have hosted Christmas properly, for more than just myself and my brother (and that year my brother spent most of Christmas Day dozing on the sofa in front of Rocky 3 so to be fair much of the festivities were lost on him), and I hadn’t realised how stressful it can be. If waking up at 4am with a sudden rush of concern that tinned peaches might make the breakfast bellinis insufficiently smooth can be described as “stress,” for I am acutely aware of my own #firstworldproblems ridiculousness.
And then there’s the fact that Piglet simply WILL. NOT. GO. TO. BED and has to be woken up in approximately one hour and taken for a long run around the park this afternoon like a dog, so as to tire him out in preparation for the visit of the big man in red and white later-that is, if Santa can haul the giant train-set-with-table all the way down from its hiding place in the the loft without waking a soul, a feat which I consider unlikely. And he won’t have the chance to do it at all if Piglet insists on running around the house until nigh on the witching hour, high on salt and vinegar crisps he’s triumphantly half-inched from Mummy’s plate and Advent calendar sugar, as he has done the past two nights, leaving me feeling like that terrible parent who cannot even get their child to sleep for Santa on Christmas Eve and instead resorts to screaming at them in the hope of getting them to sleep in their own bed (which, to be fair, Piglet attempted last night for all of ten seconds, just long enough to proclaim that “Father Christmas will be happy,” as he climbed in between the sheets of his own bed, in his own room, before walking straight out and into my bed, breezily saying, “No more now!” and clambering in beside Mummy).
Still, I guess I should really see Christmas for what it is, the chance to try out new recipes on an unsuspecting audience of my immediate family, and to see if I can live up to the challenge of finding a way to use up spare chestnut puree (chestnut bellini, anyone?) before it goes out of date in approximately two minutes.
Happy Christmas everyone, and I’ll see you on the other side. If I survive that long.