Viewpoint By Veronica Clark: How to avoid a stress free Christmas

Don't let Christmas get on top of you.
Don't let Christmas get on top of you.

I’ve never been one of those super organised people who buy their Christmas wrapping paper in the January sale.

If truth be known, I’ve always been a last-minute Annie. Panic-buying is my middle name, and I’ve even been known to do my shopping on Christmas Eve (which I wouldn’t recommend).

Once I’d had children, I realised I’d have to change my ways. A bit like buying school uniform in early September, you soon learn all the best kid’s toys are sold months in advance, and if you don’t want to be left with the Christmas turkey toy then you have to plan ahead.

I did this when my kids were growing up, but now they have, I seem to have slipped back into my slovenly ways.

A prime example of this was only a few years ago when I sat in the pub on Christmas Eve, frantically writing my Christmas cards...only to hand them out to the people sat around the table. Yes, shameful, I know.

Then there was ‘vodka toegate’, when, after one too many shandies at a Christmas Eve party, I stubbed my big toe on a table playing Santa. It’d smarted a little at the time but I’d been well anesthetised with the wonders of vodka and lemonade.

However, when I awoke the following morning, I realised not only was my foot twice the size, it was black with a bruise that had covered my entire foot.

It was so bad that I couldn’t put any weight on it. But it actually had its benefits because I got out of cooking that year.

Instead, I was waited on hand, and quite literally, foot. I’m a bit of a Calamity Jane when it comes to celebrating the festive season, but this year, like an athlete, I’m match fit.

Surprisingly, all my presents have been purchased (although I’ve still got to write those Christmas cards).

By the time you read this, I’ll have returned from several Christmas parties in London, to a Mad Friday night on the tiles with my best pal. Yes, I will have become the equivalent of a human party machine.

On Christmas Eve, I’ll be back down the pub with friends and family. On the day itself, I’ll be in the kitchen cooking dinner for ten.

You see, we all become a little super human when it comes to Christmas, because we have to be in order to survive it.

But I’ve discovered a secret weapon to a stress-free festive day and it is called delegation. This year, my husband has had to take responsibility and buy some of the presents; he’s also going to be preparing the veg for the big dinner.

My sister is cooking all the meats, my in-laws are bringing the port and cheeseboard, and Mum will fetch the desserts.

Meanwhile, I’ll be cooking the veggie meal and popping champagne corks, safe in the knowledge that Christmas will be a joint effort. After all, it is a time for sharing.