What women want at Christmas (and we’re not talking about presents…)

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Any minute now, all over the country, women will be having exchanges with their partners that go something like this:

Them: Don’t worry about it, we’ll all help

Us: Silence

Them: You can give us jobs to do

Us: Glaring

Them: Think of me as your sous chef on the day

Us: Splutter and choke on our tea.

Forgetting for a moment the threat of omicron dangling in the air, there are two main problems we organisers of Christmas have with organising Christmas. One, the organisation part and two, no-one having the faintest idea, after all these years, what we want from other people during the festive period and what we definitely could do without. It seems unlikely that the basics will ever sink in, but just in case anyone’s interested – here they are:

Don’t offer to be our sous chef on the day

We know from bitter experience that this translates as ‘Actually I will be organising the drinks and making that task seem much like co-ordinating D-Day’; it only serves to exaggerate feelings of Christmas isolation.

Don’t buy the tree on impulse

You didn’t look at the back. It’s bald and is very obviously the bottom half of a bigger tree.

Don’t bring home a Christmas tasting box 

You know, that one you got ‘on offer’ which includes sardines, biscotti, chocolate cigarillos and five kinds of savoury cracker.

Don’t say (on the evening of Christmas Eve):

  • ‘I’ve just got a bit of work to finish up.’
  • ‘I don’t think I’m any good at wrapping; would you mind?’
  • ‘Did we remember to pick up the pie?’
  • ‘Where do you stand on largeish rescue dogs?’
  • ‘Do you want to open your present now because you might want to wear it tomorrow?’ (Not to be ungrateful but we will not be wearing the kimono-sleeved silk all in one that you saw on the girl in the wine bar who looked a bit like Fiona Bruce.) Please never buy us clothes unless we have ringed them in red pen in a magazine.

On Christmas Day, don’t:

  • Offer to get up to put on the oven and then put on the grill
  • Say (when the doorbell goes) ‘Ah, I might have asked the Whatsits for a drink’
  • Ask if there’s anything to do. You could ask if there’s anything to do or you could announce that you are getting started on the sprouts and the carrots and the potatoes. Because what needs doing is not, when it comes to Christmas lunch, a closely guarded secret. It’s exactly the same every year. Were a blow torch or a bain-marie or a piping bag involved, it might be different, but no. If you can peel a potato you’re up to the job.
  • Say, ‘Oh cranberries. I read that wrong. I thought you meant cranberry juice. Damn.’
  • Say, ‘I think your mum wants to go upstairs’. Assisting with this stuff is not our special skill. Also do not point out things that you are about to do (‘I’ll just empty the dishwasher’) as if that is one knocked off the list of the Five Necessary Helps before you get stuck into the wine and are officially Off Duty.
  • Say, ‘Sorry, can’t now, I’m doing the table plan’. What? There are eight adults and a lot of children. The dachshund could do the table plan.
  • Say (while stroking our back as we are bent over the cooker) ‘Why don’t you sit down and relax?’ What is it you think we’re doing exactly? We are saving the gravy, is what we are doing. Are you going to save the gravy? No. So get off.

Instead of all the above, do: 

  • Wash up a lot
  • Clear up a lot
  • Peel a lot
  • Wrap presents (even Jeremy Clarkson wraps his own presents)
  • Do breakfast
  • Repeat.

What would be on your wishlist? Tell us know in the comments section below

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