Don't we all drive ourselves mad for what is, in reality only a couple of days of the year? Every magazine you see gives you the perfect menu for Christmas, the perfect way to decorate, the perfect mince pie recipe ... and so on. The thing is, I don't lead a perfect life for 363 days of the year so why should I feel like I have to live 2 perfect days? Come to think of it, my idea of perfect is my own idea. Just because Nigella Lawson is dipping her fingers into sublime, perfect brandy sauce with her Christmas pud, and Jamie Oliver is dishing up a 'pukka' roast turkey with meat piled high on a platter for everyone to help themselves doesn't mean that this will work at our house. In fact, any dipping of fingers is bound to lead to me dripping sauce right down the front of my best Christmas dress. We have 14 round the table at Christmas, ages ranging from 85 to 9 months, can you imagine all those arms diving in to help themselves? (I make one exception here, Queen Delia Smith really does know how to make perfect crunchy roast potatoes, so if I can borrow one person's idea of perfection, that's the one I will be taking on board!)
So I reckon that with the hindsight of Christmases past, the thing to do is make two lists. One reality check, things that I need to do and one called 'it probably won't happen but if it is does it would be a bonus'. The days go past in a blur and I always end up going to the supermarket far too often in the days leading up to Christmas buying impulse things that seemed essential at the time but were so non-essential, they are still in the fridge two days after Christmas.
The real essentials for a Happy Christmas for me are having those closest and dearest to me around me, everyone keeping healthy, and enough food in the cupboards to keep us going until the shops reopen.
Keep Calm - It's only Christmas!!!