Over about the last eight years, I’ve really grown into my Christmas role. It started, I think, with just a light sprinkling of red star-shaped sequins back in Christmas ’04, when mum casually asked me to do something pretty with the table. By Christmas ’09 I had really consolidated the role. That was the year I stitched a table runner. Things were getting serious. Christmas ’12, let me tell you, has involved some advanced planning. I’m hoping to incorporate these if I can.
We all have our thing. We all try to jump in and help with the food here and there, but mum’s very definitely in charge. My brother is the photographer, dad’s mixing cocktails. It works very well. Until I get to the point where I’m doing my own Christmas lunch – still feels a long way off somehow, that rite of passage – I like having a small thing that I’m sort of responsible for. And if that means being able to inflict little Father Christmas hats on everyone’s glassware, I’ll take it.
It made me wonder what other small roles might be up for grabs over Christmas for the people who aren’t on turkey duty. Here are a few I’ve identified. Choose one and make it your own.
Wrapping paper monitor
You’ll be the one who keeps the wrapping paper situation under control when everyone’s unwrapping – collecting up anything recyclable into a bin bag that you’ll have got ready in advance. Over time you might start imposing a system.
Everyone forgets to make tea during the Christmas period but it’s the one thing everyone desperately wants and it is the last thing on the mind of the person responsible for the Christmas food. Get the kettle on.
You’ll be the one who plans which board games and quizzes are going to be played, and you’ll have retrieved them from wherever they’ve been stashed during the year. You might have a schedule. You might even have made up a few games yourself.
Your job is to make sure everyone’s wearing their cracker hat at all times. Important.