The Christ­mas or­gan­iser

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - The Sunday Cook -

Mi­randa has her Christ­mas List. It is longer than the M25 and much of it is sta­tion­ary – but she has wrapped the presents, or­dered the tur­key, bought the ser­rano ham from Lidl (spe­cial of­fer, £29), made the sloe gin, bot­tled the chut­ney, heaved the tree dec­o­ra­tions up from the cel­lar and stuck a Post-it note on the cat.

The Christ­mas cards were writ­ten in Oc­to­ber so that they could con­fi­dently be posted sec­ond class. Only to friends abroad and an­cient aunts – Mi­randa is not wast­ing good money on neigh­bours she will see at the Carol Ser­vice. Or should that be Ca­role ser­vice?

Mi­randa has been read­ing a great deal re­cently about Ca­role Mid­dle­ton’s Christ­mas and feel­ing irked that she, Mi­randa, had not thought of hav­ing Christ­mas trees in ev­ery room in the house, prob­a­bly in­clud­ing the loos (would those con­ceal lit­tle fir tree scent atom­is­ers?). Mi­randa is go­ing to stage a Ca­role come­back with fairy lights – no bowl of hy­acinths, vase, poin­set­tia, mantle­piece, four­poster bed or ta­ble dec­o­ra­tion is go­ing to be fairy lite. That is the won­der of bat­tery oper­ated sets of twin­kle from Ama­zon, which will drive her hus­band in­sane chang­ing the AA – or are they AAA? – bat­ter­ies from Christ­mas Eve to New Year’s Eve with a very small screw­driver that’ll con­stantly be lost.

The tree is tricky. Be­ing ul­tra-or­gan­ised, Mi­randa would like it to go up now but that risks nee­dle-droop and even she can­not be as su­per­hu­man as the ho­tel elves at Clive­den who change and re­dec­o­rate the tree overnight three times be­fore Christ­mas. A “One just can’t get the staff ” re­minder. She will al­low her chil­dren to dec­o­rate the tree but then re-do it. It would never do for the Caw­bal­lyS­tump­tons and Lady Trun­cheon to think she coun­te­nanced tin­sel. If only Mi­randa knew (be­cause she has never been in­vited to Trunch Manor) that Lady T throws old tin­sel on the tree she in­her­ited from her mother in the Fifties and the an­gel was made by her gar­dener’s wife from a dis­carded Bar­bie doll.

She will al­low her chil­dren to dec­o­rate the Christ­mas tree, but then re-do it

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