For me Christmas is all about family. But when family sprawls across multiple generations and at least four different households — who would all ‘love to get everyone together at the same time’ and ‘preferably on Christmas Day’ — my holiday season begins with trying to manage everyone’s expectations…including two small children who will inevitably be happy wherever they end up, as long as they can eat their own weight in chocolate tree decorations.
Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m luckier than most to be part of such a large family. And up until recently have been quite content reverting back to being a child each festive holiday to be waited on by various sets of parents, while devouring a tin of Quality Streets in front of the Eastenders Christmas Special. But now, being a parent as well as a child, I sometimes find it tricky to find my place in the Christmas proceedings — and wonder at what point the baton of Christmas host passes from one generation to the next?
It’s not that I desperately want to host Christmas. In fact, the idea of cooking three types of meat and preparing ten different vegetables for one meal fills me with dread. I’m more of a buy it ready-made from M&S kind of chef. But being able to introduce some of our own family Christmas traditions — instead of trying to placate dozens of people with different expectations — might be a nice change?
Perhaps for this year though, I’ll climb back on the Christmas merry-go-round laden with mulled wine and enjoy being the child one more time. After all, if I’m not having a tantrum after too many Snowballs and an ill-timed game of Monopoly, who else will do it?