Pass the brandy... I can't cope with Christmas Eve '“ Lesley Keating

Is it just me or has Christmas Eve snuck up on us very unexpectedly this year? One minute I was vaguely planning Christmas '“ an event that seemed to be way off in the future '“ and suddenly, wham, it's here and I'm knee deep in wrapping paper and Sellotape.

Thursday, 20th December 2018, 6:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:31 am
BEWARE: Momoko the cat will wreck the tree

How on earth did that happen?

Every year I say that the next will be the one in which I'm super-organised, buying every gift in October, getting all my groceries delivered by Ocado and finally sitting back smugly with a mince pie and a glass of brandy when the clock strikes 6pm. 

Well that didn't work out, did it?

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Today I'm not only still wrapping presents before the family invasion, I'm also up to my elbows in brown rice flour and dried fruit, attempting to make vegan mince pies while simultaneously following a recipe for gluten and dairy-free bread sauce!  Bet you wish you were me, don't you?

I've also just wrestled with changing two Super-King duvets and virtually tied myself '“ and them '“ in knots in the process.  And I've Hoovered up a bucket of needles from around our so-called shed-proof tree already.  Hmmm.  Anyway, that last thought will soon pale into insignificance when Momoko the cat arrives to annihilate it later this afternoon'¦

Here's some Christmas tips for you all by the way. 

If you recycle gifts, make sure you don't give them back to whoever gave them to you. I speak from experience here.

And keep spare cards and presents at the ready in case you're caught with your proverbial Christmas pants down like we were once. 

On that occasion a couple we barely knew, and their child, popped in with a completely unexpected gift.  Yikes!  So, I concocted an elaborate story about how theirs was '˜upstairs waiting'. I grabbed some Ferrero Rocher, hastily scribbled a card and licked the envelope before returning downstairs.

All should have gone well, however their smarty-pants six-year-old opened the card, saying: '˜Mummy why's this envelope all wet?'

Ah well, it's the thought that counts. Happy Christmas everyone.


The '˜gimme gimme now, I want', generation in action

We were having coffee in Costa when a family came in. 

'˜What do you want?' said the dad to the children.

'˜I want that cake' said a young boy. The other one chimed in with '˜Yeah, cake!'

'˜Get me a peach iced tea,' ordered their mum as she headed off to the toilets. '˜I want peach iced tea too,' clamoured one child. '˜I want Coke,' demanded the other.

When the drinks were ready the children grabbed theirs and ran off to a table.

No one in that family said '˜please' or '˜thank you', either to each other or to the cashier.

What a missed opportunity for those parents to lead by example in teaching their children the basic manners which are more important than they probably realise.


Tell me, how do you tell the sex of a gingerbread man?

So, the gender-neutral debate has gone seasonal now, sparking a Santa crisis. Should we really stop saying '˜Father' Christmas in favour of something more fluid? Considering he was based on St Nicholas, not St Nicola, why the furore?  

And the song Baby It's Cold Outside is now banned for reasons I won't go into. (Someone should tell Next though as it was still on the in-store play list last week.) Isn't there enough going on, like Brexit, for us to worry about?

There was also a debate about gingerbread men and how they should be called '˜people' instead of '˜men'. How you can tell what sex a gingerbread man is anyway? Makes the mind boggle'¦.