IMUCH preferred Christmas when I wasn't responsible for buying all the groceries, stocking the fridge with beer and wine, making sure the house is tidy (never going to happen) in case random visitors drop in unannounced and getting us all out the door for Mass on Christmas morning without looking like we've been dragged through a bush backwards.
Having to look after all the logistics of Christmas takes the good out of it. Personally I couldn't give a toss if we have turkey or burgers and chips on Christmas Day, but the rest of my lazy lot take the whole festive feast as a given.
Of course there will be tins of heroes, selection boxes, chocolate kimberleys, smoked salmon, cheese boards, and every crisp known to man. And how do I know this? Because I'll be the one bloody buying and preparing it all.
The same goes for every present that goes under the tree. Any of the relatives we're still talking to will get a gift chosen, bought and wrapped by me. Himself will turn around to his mother on Christmas morning and admire her new scarf saying, "That's lovely where did you get that?" and she'll reply, "you gave it to me." Once you grow up and Santa doesn't visit you anymore, the best part of Christmas is actually reliving memories from your childhood. Things may have been a lot simpler back in the day and money certainly wasn't in great abundance, but you could almost taste the magic of Christmas, smell it in the air.
FOR ME, Christmas will always taste of toasted ham sandwiches, tayto and coke which we were given as a treat on Christmas eve and allowed eat in front of the telly, sitting by the fire with only the fairy lights on the Christmas tree as illumination.
Then we were put to bed early in anticipation of Santa coming. Early meant 8 pm and they was no messing. You were too afraid to risk it in case you got a lump of coal. Nowadays I'm lucky if my little feckers go to bed by midnight. Santa has sat nav apparently so he can come back again if everyone isn't asleep. And there's no such thing as a naughty and nice list, according to my seven year old. Santa loves everybody so you can be as bold as you like! The Christmas mornings of my childhood began at 5am and thankfully that's one tradition that hasn't been carried on! We'd get up, open our presents, eat selection boxes for breakfast and go to mass in our best clobber with my mother whispering vicious threats in our ears not to get a speck of dirt on ourselves.
There'd be turkey and ham, brussel sprouts, baked Alaska and Blue Nun for dinner, followed by the Queens Speech and Top of the Pops. A little nap then for the adults followed closely by ET and Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.
It was simple, it was innocent, it was perfect. And if I had one wish this year it would be to have a simple, innocent, perfect Christmas. Eggs Benedict and champagne in bed would also be nice and a bottle of perfume wouldn't go astray.
But I'll settle for simple, innocent and perfect!