Rachel’s Blog

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We’re All Serious About Christmas !!

Well the countdown has begun – not just to our next season of fabulous skittles weekends but of course it’s nearly time for tinsel and turkey.

What’s the perfect gift for a skittler?  Anything from a pint to quite a few pints, I would humbly suggest.  Or go on, treat them to a weekend away on one of our skittles party weekends.  Better still, nag your team or simply a pile of mates who know how to party.

So far so good.  but no doubt some of you will be doing your annual head scratching about Christmas gifts for non skittlers.  Are there any?  Jury’s out on that one.  Are you the kind of person who just delegates all the present buying to some poor sod who sorts it out every year.  But if it’s down to you, are you a forward planner or a last minute dot com person?

A quick straw poll in the Serious About Christmas office neatly divided the room.  Half ‘leave it to someone else because they’re good at it’ and the other half are already considering  therapy because it’s already getting too stressful.

And then there are all the other preparations.  I know a wonderful after-dinner speaker who gets booked solidly at this time of year for her Chaos at Christmas talk.  She talks about the ridiculous pressure that falls on some of us to put on the perfect party.  Here are some modest examples: piping cream cheese into a mangetout, carving a swan out of a block of ice, or making marzipan the old-fashioned way – just the eight closely typed pages of A4.

When she starts talking about re-gifting, the whole room descends into shrieks of laughter and ‘yes, yes yes’.  Not on this occasion followed by the immortal line from When Harry Met Sally:  ‘I’ll have what she’s having’.  (If you haven’t seen the film, it’s about halfway through).  If you’re seriously caught out giving back a gift you got last year from the same person, my friend’s solution is sheer genius.  ‘It was so marvellous that I had to buy you one.’

Magazines and daytime telly are stuffed with experts showing us how to make our own Christmas decorations.  Fancy making a sugar cube castle or a Christmas wreath out of an old pair of green tights.  As if we have any knocking around waiting for just this purpose….

Ditto the presenter who advised ‘just take a piece of organza and some autumn leaves and throw them over your table.

Every family has their own traditions so if you’re possibly the visitor this year, it’s always a good idea to suss ‘em out before you take up invitations.  The dress code alone can be a minefield.  Is it Christmas jumpers, yule tide PJs, sparkly frocks or come as a snowman.

Should there be health warnings about Randy Old Uncle Peter when he’s hit the port?  Or the emergency strategy when the woman from next door whose name everyone has forgotten, gets sloshed and evil on gin.  Over competitive board games, cheating at cards, and commandeering the remote are all part of the seasonal minefield.

Even Marks and Spencer have got it spectacularly wrong this year, in my humble opinion.  Their ad, featuring setting fire to Christmas cards chucking a board game in the air and being horrible to a Christmas elf, have attracted a lot of criticism about the ‘pleasing yourself’ aspect of this, when it should be the season of giving.  I must say I agree.

The best bit about Christmas for me, is putting real thought into choosing something that my family member or friend will really love.  I can’t obviously reveal what they’re all getting as it has to be a surprise.  But hopefully it won’t be salmonella if I remember to thaw out the turkey properly…….