Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Celebrating those Little Moments of Christmas Chaos

Christmas is a wonderful time of year and I spend hours making lists, researching recipes, buying thoughtful gifts and getting myself organised to ensure my family have the best day ever...but that doesn't necessarily mean that things always go to plan!


However well organised you are, sometimes fate just comes along and tramples all over your best laid plans. It's at times like this that you either crumble and burst into tears or you pull up your festive socks and initiate Plan B!

Two years ago I had my house full with all the family joining us for Christmas Day. Making Christmas dinner for twelve people is always a juggling act, swapping things around in the oven to try and get everything cooked evenly and on time. Packing the shelves with nut roasts, stuffing, roast veg, potatoes, parsnips, Yorkies and veggie pigs in blankets is a test for any oven at the best of times. But this year, my oven decided enough was enough. It took me a while to realise that things were not cooking very well and then it dawned on me that everything was in fact getting colder. The heating element had lost the will to live. The oven was stone cold dead!

With twelve people hungry for their festive fayre, panic began to set in. Visions of feeding them Primula cheese spread sandwiches and a bag of crisps went through my mind. (That might be a yummy emergency lunch at other times of the year but not on Christmas Day!) What a disaster to happen on this day of all days!

 However, the spirit of Christmas was with us that day. My next door neighbours, who were away visiting family, saw my pitiful social media updates and came to the rescue. We had a spare key to their house to use in case of emergencies and this was definitely deemed as one of those times. We were told to go ahead and use their kitchen - their double oven was ours for the day. It was a Christmas miracle!

To add to the drama, it was raining. I gathered my troops to help, and clad in their festive jumpers and new slippers, we paired up. One of us carried a partially cooked tray of food while the other held an umbrella over head. There was lots of to-ing and fro-ing as we kept popping back and forth to check on potato roastiness and stuffing crispiness. Goodness knows what our other neighbours must have thought! Eventually, through top teamwork, our dinner was cooked. We carried it all back to our house and we were able to sit down together and eat Christmas dinner as a family. Only slightly later than planned and slightly chilled from being carried down the street in the rain.

When things go wrong, you have to find the humour in the situation. You've got to pull together and laugh about the broken oven or the smashed Christmas baubles or the inappropriately drunk auntie or the bout of ill timed gastroenteritis or the embarrassing moment when you realise you have forgotten to buy a present for one of your guests (yes all these things have happened to me.)

You can't avoid the unavoidable, but there are things you can do to help the day go smoothly. One of my top tips is to do all your food preparation on Christmas Eve. It's a family tradition for us to don our Christmas jumpers, whack on our favourite Christmas tunes and get peeling, chopping and prepping whatever we can in advance. This leaves Christmas morning free for the fun stuff like opening presents.  Speaking of presents - always keep a couple of extra wrapped gifts under the tree, just in case of unexpected visitors. Boxes of biscuits or bottles of wine are perfect choices, because if you don't need to gift them, you can enjoy them yourself. And don't forget to have plenty of batteries and a screwdriver available, so any new toys found under the tree can be powered up or assembled. There's not much worse to a child than having a new toy that can't be played with!

Even if the day does end up going completely pear shaped, remember that the 25th of December is just one day out of 365. Do a re-run on another day if need be. In the future, it's the laughs, the smiles and the fun that comes from being a family that will be remembered. We don't need everything to be perfect to have a great time. Embrace the chaos, keep a laid back approach and enjoy every moment.

Primula have a campaign this Christmas to encourage us to celebrate the big day in all its chaotic glory. They have teamed up with bloggers to share their own tales of Christmas woe alongside some top Christmas hacks to help you survive the day.

You can view or download the 'Primula Little Moments of  Christmas Chaos' booklet for free at Inside you can also find recipes, ideas for games and hints and tips for surviving and embracing the little moments of Christmas chaos!

You can join in and share your own moments of chaos or some of your own Christmas survival plans using the hashtag #LittleMomentsOfChristmasChaos on social media. Together we can celebrate Christmas 2016 without the stress!


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