I have been writing a column for Good Housekeeping magazine here since December last year. Here is the first one.
This will be our fourth Christmas in Abu Dhabi, and I’m determined to get it right.
Last year we were almost there, but I fear the pink tree slightly
let us down. By the time I realised that you actually had to book a
month in advance for a real tree it was of course too late. We had
to make do with whatever was left at Lulu’s – a choice of gold or
pink. Pink it was; we haven’t gone totally native.
I feel increasingly stupid every year when I wake up somewhere in
mid-December and realise that Christmas is only a matter of days
away. I promise myself that next year I will do better. I will
become one of those annoying types who buy little gifts throughout the year and stash them away for the children’s stockings. And start freezing breadcrumbs for the bread sauce mid-October.
When I realise I have failed, yet again, I panic.
We have not made Christmas easy on ourselves. Quite apart from trying to meet people’s (read children’s) expectations when it comes
to presents, we have to cook an enormous lunch and decorate the house like a scene from A Christmas Carol. And because we have dragged our children away from their home countries, we feel
we have to do it all bigger and better than we ever did before.
In reality, no one is creating all this pressure, apart from our own slightly masochistic Christmas housewife alter-ego, who is silent all year round but surfaces with a vengeance over yule tide, like some shrill harpy, in coordinated red and green with ‘fun’ earrings.
By getting it right this year, I have decided I am going to ignore
her unhinged demands. I shall drag the pink Christmas tree out of
its box under the stairs (good recycling I’ll tell the family), put
on something black and elegant and take everyone for lunch at some gorgeous hotel on the beach. Let someone who is paid to do it make the bread sauce.
And with all the energy I have left over, I will drone on about the
true meaning of Christmas. That should shut them all up until it’s
all over again.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2012