Last week my mum and I walked up the front path to our not quite ready yet house, unlocked the door and shut out the cold wind behind us and relieved our arms of cleaning and polishing and mopping paraphernalia. We came to clean and to prepare the house for its transformation from not quite ready yet to we live here now. Coats off and flung onto the sofa every footstep echoed through the emptiness and our breath clouded and hung in the air. I’ll put the heating on…
‘Where are you going to put your Christmas tree?’
I walk back into the front room, bewildered and likely looking more than a little vacant – huh?
But the thing is, it did get me thinking. Somewhat annoyingly yes because it’s October and there is so much else to think about right now that baubles really are not at the top of my to do list and childishly as I remember it always feeling like Christmas eve by the time our tree was up as a child (but muuuuuuuum, all my friends have theirs done already) it’s a bit strange that it would even be something that should pop into my mums head as she stands in my quite barren living room with a mop in one hand and a can of Pledge in the other.
Now I find myself on the second night ever that we have lived here looking across to each corner of the room wondering if the tree would be better there or there. I’m working out all of the logistics, distance to plug socket, potential for knocking over, potential for pulling down, potential for blocking the TV and thus robbing us of Eastenders every evening.
The thing is, it doesn’t stop there either, oh no! Because we’re only just settling in here I can’t quite get my head around the idea of not being at home at Christmas. For the last however many years we have alternated Christmases between sides of the family and to be honest I think we’re ready to just have our own Christmas in our own house where we can wear our pyjamas until dinner time and gorge on Quality Street without having to share. Because I like to
make sure I put plenty of pressure on myself do things properly and because Beans is almost two and won’t be quite as oblivious to things as last year I also have to think about cards and presents and advent calendars and ribbons and bows and sprouts and stuffing and cake and tinsel andandand…
Somewhat embarrassingly at the age of 27 I have cooked just one Christmas dinner. One. For two people and one of those people was the husband who had literally just seconds before we sat down asked me to marry him so I don’t imagine he was paying much attention to the food on his plate as the relief washed over him. And I was far too busy staring at my engagement ring and grinning like a fool to notice. I don’t even remember what I cooked. Now I have a husband and a toddler who says a firm no to everything and a pretty small oven and little to no idea about how to time it all perfectly so everything is hot and yummy rather than burnt and raw in the middle.
The novice fear bubbling in my belly and my desire to create the perfect family Christmas (is there such a thing?!) has led to (October!) days spent lost in my own fairy-tale dream world inspired by the internet and blogs and catalogues and recipe books…And because of one probably throw away comment that bounced off the white walls of the empty house a few days ago I now know that I am going to cheat at Christmas – Pinterest boards and coordinated packs of decorations and wrapping and the Waitrose turkey guide and the rule that no one can enter the kitchen while I am cooking in case they see me at my worst (sobbing over roast potatoes) will hopefully lead to perfection.
Aah, I feel so organised.