Why is it everybody has to have the perfect Christmas? Every magazine I pick up at the moment has 'handy hints and tips' on how to achieve it, or even a complete countdown to the big day, from when to wrap presents to when to carve the turkey? Surely it's just one big lesson in how to become completely stressed out over an occasion that should be fun and relaxing?
'Relaxing' I can hear you shout from here. 'Christmas, relaxing, how mad is she'? Well quite, as it turns out, but that's another story. Think about it - does it really matter is you're still shopping for gifts on Christmas Eve, never mind wrapping them? Does it matter if the dinner isn't ready dot on three, or the potatoes are out of synch with the bread pudding? Everybody will enjoy the meal anyway and you will certainly enjoy it a lot more if you are more chilled and less frazzled.
I think we all risk forgetting this is supposed to be a happy time, and whether that's because of the expectations heaped upon us or us heaping them on ourselves I don't know. I'm not being bah humbug, I love Christmas and the build up to it. I just don't see why it should be a time that puts so much pressure on people. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate, to cook dinner, to shop or spend time with family and friends, just the way of the individual - that's what matters. And if you eat your dinner at 5 and forget all about the Christmas pudding, that's up to you, and not some cookery editor on a magazine somewhere.