A few Grapevine tips to get through Christmas without needing to go into therapy in the New Year!
We thought we would help our members in the lead up to the Christmas season, from present buying to surviving the actual day itself. Use some of our previous drama's to your advantage and learn from them to have (as near as can be) a hassle-free, festive knees-up!
The number of presents us ladies (and some men!) have got to buy each year seems to be ever growing. Can you all please just stop having babies/getting new husbands/boyfriends?! So, my strategy is now to group everyone into sections by age, sex, really like and not quite so bothered (to put it politely)! Then you find a prezzie that fits into each age group/popularity ladder and you give the same thing to all in that bracket. This will save an awful lot of time and stress and you are effectively killing 4,5,6 or even more birds with one stone! So as an example, you give any male nephews, children, grandchildren, godchildren etc... aged between 7 and 9 an unsuitable nerf gun or similar! All you have to do is press 5 instead of 1 on the website.
Then there’s the actual nightmare of the buying the damn things. I think there are two choices.
Number 1 - go to a Christmas sale, with total focus of the job in hand, don’t take friends with you and preferably go in disguise so no friends recognise you and speak to you (!) Having written down your categories, find a suitable present for each and buy in bulk!
Or, Number 2 - if you don’t want to go to one of those exhausting sales, pour a big glass of wine, light the fire and order online (in bulk) BUT one word of warning, do not get too thirsty on that lovely bottle of Fleurie as you may find you get 50 Cath Collins bath oils through the post next week instead of 5!
The next tip, I have learnt from experience is for God’s sake write down what you are giving everyone as it arrives in the following weeks in vast quantities and if you are anything like me you can’t remember who the hell is meant to be having what (particularly if you were enjoying the Fleurie at the time of ordering).
The next thing I am not quite sure about and can’t decide if it’s acceptable or not….
Is it ok to a) Order all the Godchildren their presents from Amazon or wherever, and get them sent direct to them, that then makes it about 8 less presents to wrap up and you cut out the God-awful task of a Post Office visit and b) (I think this is a bit lame perhaps?!) sending the Godchildren a bit of money to buy themselves something they actually want, answers on an email please!
Now, onto the boring essentials that we never think of but could single handedly ruin your Christmas in one fell swoop; gas/oil! - is there enough to see you through Xmas and New Year?! I have been through that little oversight once before and proper sense of humour failure ensued….be warned!
The one thing you DON’T need a plentiful supply of is, ****** mince pies!
I find myself every year going to the larder in about August to fetch some new teabags or something, only to find I’ve as usual run out but instead am faced with 6 boxes of stale Waitrose mince pies! They simply do not get eaten in our household, ever!
One last bit of advice; always check and double check about timings for things.
A couple of years ago I thought, right, I think we should all go to a nice Christmas Eve carol service to get into the Christmas spirit (make the children go too) and if we go on Christmas Eve perhaps I can be excused from going on Christmas Day….
After busting a gut to get there in time for the beginning of the Service; dogs fed and walked, horses sorted out, grumpy children in the car looking vaguely clean and tidy etc.
I feel rather chuffed to have got us there with 5 minutes to spare..and then I am thinking ‘Gosh there aren’t many people going to this Service, it’s awfully quiet…’
We get up to the church to be told by the Church Warden the Service was at 4 pm and actually finished over an hour ago! I never heard the end of it from my fairly fed up husband, but the children were relieved I think. Anyway at least I tried!
So always double check these things especially drinks and dinner parties. It’s very easily done (for me anyway) turning up a week/day early or late, mistakes are easy to make when under pressure, tired, and stressed and if you are like me, fail to put in the diary on the correct date, if indeed at all!
Finally, just get into the ‘spirit’ of Christmas, by this, I mean the vodka and that will let any rather stressful times wash over you without too much of a drama!
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