By Steven Allison
Today the beautifully seductive ‘domestic goddess’ Nigella Lawson claimed that women are under serious pressure at this time of the year. She said that wrapping presents is the solo festive act that sends her “over the edge”. I am more than sure that there are throngs of women out there that will put their hands up and agree that the bain of their lives in the run up to Christmas is the oh so irritating occurence of getting their “hair stuck under the sellotape”, as nigella claimed in her Radio Times interview. Hmmm, or not Nigella.
What of those women out there that have to deal with real pressures of Christmas? For the majority of women, and indeed men akin, Christmas can be an exciting time of year but can also be full of stress and worry. There are numerous parties to attend and host, there are expensive gifts to purchase and exchange, and there are difficult children to constantly keep amused.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, in the United Kingdom alone 40% of the population suffers from some form of stress related illness at this time of year. This prompts the question, how can we make this time of the year flow like a hearty glass of mulled wine down the throat?
One of the biggest problems that people create for themselves is beginning the onslaught of Christmas shopping disastrously late. Doing so leads to battling through hoards of other desperate shoppers and should be avoided like non-alcoholic wine. Nobody wants their eyes scratched out to get the last Wii on the shelves.
People seem to create completely unreasonable expectations of the festive season. Making things absolutely perfect is not always the best solution, and attainable targets should be set and stuck to. Mistakes will be made…we are after all human. Well, most of us.
I once stupidly criticised my mother’s cooking at Christmas and after a glass of (alcoholic) wine too many a deal was struck that the following year, I would take the reigns of the bumpy Christmas dinner sleigh ride. I have two things to say about that…never again…and hats off to anyone that can pull it off. My innovative suggestion to this would be to get guests to bring a dish and help serve them. Any polite guest would offer to help with that latter anyway. If not, horse them out the door.
We’ve all experienced the unpleasant Grinch like relative at Christmas. Some argue that the best way with which to deal with this breed is not to bite back when they throw a rude remark out there. I say that it wont do any harm to issue a small reminder that they are in your home ,and that if they having nothing positive to contribute then they should just keep shtum.
I am long of the belief that children are on this earth to annoy adults. They argue and squabble, and create pandemonium at every available corner. Threatening them with Santa retracting their presents should do the trick. If they no longer believe in Santa Clause (but to be honest who wouldn’t believe in that jolly, rotund, rouge lump of Christmas wonder?) then my suggestion to reduce stress…palm them off on a gullible relative.
I’m sure even ‘supermum’ Nigella would benefit by heeding some of this wise advice. Just remember parents of the country…avoid the hair and sellotape combination and Christmas will go off like a match to a Christmas pudding.