Christmas. Don’t you just love it? I do to a point but mostly I see it as a something to be endured, and, it would appear that I am not alone. On the school run today another mum remarked that she would view it as a success if she manages to survive Christmas by not being broke at the end of it or upsetting too many relatives. The demands on us all from school/home/work at this time of year is exhausting; the sheer volume of stuff going on overwhelming : tombola prizes for school, cakes for the Christmas fair, and, the inevitable scrambling around trying to assemble costumes for the kids to wear for the schools modern, utterly PC take on the nativity. What do mean you didn’t realise Jesus’s dad was Elvis? Jesus is going to be raised gender neutral (of course).
All of this stuff is impossible to remember without the list. Actually it’s multiple lists. A whole pad of lists: the list of presents, school stuff, food, presents for teachers … it’s never ending, mind boggling and enough to have me reaching for the Sherry. And that brings me neatly to the best bit of Christmas – it’s socially acceptable to pour yourself a drink for breakfast (and I need it).
So why does the media try to tell me how easy it can all be? Every time I open up a magazine or the Sunday supplement I am told that I need to drop a dress size before the big day. Sweet Jesus, as if I haven’t got enough to do? And anyway I crave carbs at this time of year to help keep me warm. Dieting seems an impossible task; I think I’ll stick with my ‘magic knickers’ if I feel the need to ‘hide the flab’.
I’m (not) feeling the pressure to get the house ‘Christmas ready’ – stocking up my ‘smug’ fridge, spring cleaning, decorating even… I have fallen into that trap in the past, I had to give myself a talking to the day when I found myself weaving artistic displays of holly, mistletoe and eucalyptus through the bannister on the stairs, woman, what were you thinking?! I’ve even caught myself watching YouTube videos demonstrating how to make the perfect Christmas wreath before and slaving away at the stove making my own pickled onions (they’ve got a hell of a kick – will put hairs on your chest) and as a self confessed foodie of course I’ve whisked up a homemade Christmas pudding. I think I need some Valium in my tea.
On the big day itself many women will subject themselves to a day of complete thankless drudgery. The military operation will begin in the early hours, when it is still dark outside and the menfolk are snoozing peacefully in their beds. Woman puts on her pinny, pulls up a chair at the kitchen table and begins pulling innards out of a frozen bird before trying to squash the damn thing in the oven (luckily as a vegetarian I at least am spared that). She peels mountains of spuds, roasts carrots in honey and caraway seeds, boils and mashes swede and sprinkles roast chestnuts over Brussels sprouts.
This is the bit of Christmas that mystifies me. It’s a roast. Why is it such a big deal? The kids don’t care; they are too excited and full of chocolate coins ‘stolen’ off the tree to want to eat. Woman sweats away in the kitchen preparing the Christmas lunch. It’s like a sauna in there, condensation builds up on the inside of the windows, she has to keep running out of the back door into the garden to cool off. Man wanders in, gives her an affectionate squeeze and offers to open a bottle of red so it has chance to breathe. He then shuffles back into the living room to pop another log on the fire before collapsing into his favourite chair.
This Christmas I urge my fellow woman kind to rebel against this day of slavery and down tools. I want to see complete anarchy because, let’s face it – the kids are happy with mac cheese and the grown ups can get in the bloomin kitchen and muck in if they want a roast. Don’t make it too convoluted and difficult, I’m a veggie (as regular readers will know) I make a nut roast the night before, mr fhb peels the veg and I cook it simply and quickly as I would normally if I was doing a roast dinner. A lot of veggies will roast perfectly together in the same roasting tin. Pop in oven, walk away until cooked. Job done. Go and put your feet up and enjoy the day.
This isn’t a test of endurance,
a rebellious Jules xx