There is every chance my husband still believes in Santa Claus. Things do, after all, magically keep appearing all around him every
Cards, with personal messages already inscribed to the recipient, that he just has to sign.
Little presents for unexpected guests and their children are conjured as if from nowhere when they drop by.
And on Christmas Day itself – why, you would hardly believe it! – presents for absolutely everyone appear, ready-wrapped, with gift tags, all miraculously appropriate to the recipient.
My husband thinks he does Christmas because he goes to Hamleys after work one evening and buys our little boy’s Big Present every year and once pushed the Send button on an Ocado order [File photo]
And in the middle of the day, enough food to feed an army emerges from the kitchen and arrives on a table laid with shining silver and crockery and holly-sprigged napkins that exist for one day only and are not seen again until they are summoned forth by the spirits next Yuletide. Truly, it is the most wonderful time of the year.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It’s not Father Christmas. It’s me! I do it! Like most women in most families, I do it.
My husband thinks he does Christmas because he goes to Hamleys after work one evening and buys our little boy’s Big Present every year and once pushed the Send button on an Ocado order.
But he doesn’t do Christmas. The workload is way bigger than that, and 99 per cent of it is done by me.
I start in January, restocking my depleted cards and wrapping-paper resources along with my drawer of Generic Yet Thoughtful-Looking Presents For Unexpected Guests And Their Children in the sales.
I pick up other gifts for family and friends all year round. From October, I start adding extra bottles of booze, boxes of chocolates and tins of biscuits to my trolley as I do the weekly shop.
I keep the rolling list of people we need to send cards and presents to updated in my mind and their addresses on a spreadsheet.
In November I start writing cards and organising my work commitments in such a way that I can cope with the upcoming onslaught of additional tasks – our son’s nativity costume (PLEASE let him not have any lines to learn – the year he played part of a fence around the stable was a godsend), tree-buying and decorating, keeping the house from descending into complete chaos as childish excitement and sleeplessness builds. And then it’s December itself, and we all know how that goes.
There is every chance my husband still believes in Santa Claus. Things do, after all, magically keep appearing all around him every Christmas. Cards, with personal messages already inscribed to the recipient, that he just has to sign [File photo]
It’s almost as if Christmas were just a heightened version of every other day of the year. It functions (in among the joy and the all-round gorgeousness) as an annual reminder of how unequally some things are shared.
The Royal Statistical Society released figures last week showing that, globally, women do 75 per cent of the world’s unpaid labour; and most of it is a lot more onerous than digging out the festive napkins from whatever corner you shoved them in last year.
Every January I always promise myself that between now and next Christmas, I will redistribute every domestic task so that, by December 25, my husband and I are working in seamless harmony, a burden shared becoming no burden at all.
I will teach him to separate whites from darks and put a load of washing on. Proper pegging out techniques take time to teach and learn, but I will consider it an investment in my future sanity and we will do it.
Ditto cooking beyond bolognese and jacket potatoes. Fun, Yule-specific skills such as wrapping and sprout-prepping will be his glorious reward at the end of a year of foundational learning.
Join me, won’t you? There’s got to be strength in numbers. Join me in this programme of ensuring fair and equal allocation of labour, of unlearning learned helplessness, of kicking oblivious other halves up their backsides.
Let’s make 2020 the year of 50:50. Merry Christmas!
It’s almost as if Christmas were just a heightened version of every other day of the year. It functions (in among the joy and the all-round gorgeousness) as an annual reminder of how unequally some things are shared [File photo]
It’s reported that Ruth Wilson’s abrupt departure from The Affair last year was not due to a pay dispute as rumoured
Abuse fuelled by power- not sex
It’s reported that Ruth Wilson’s abrupt departure from The Affair last year was not due to a pay dispute as rumoured, but to her discomfort over ‘gratuitous’ nude scenes and a hostile working environment – despite the fact that the showrunner on the hit series was a woman.
If true, it only serves to prove the point that sexual harassment and the like is rarely about sex itself.
It’s about abusing power.
Keep that in mind, and a lot of cases become much simpler to understand and condemn.
I’ve just managed to have a row – an actual row – with a stranger on social media about bread sauce.
They said it was revolting, only less politely. I said it was the Food of the Gods.
It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!
The only change I’m making to my usual list of New Year’s resolutions for 2020 is increasing my ‘Lose half a stone’ promise to ‘Lose a stone’.
Which shows you how well they’ve all worked in previous years.
All I want for Christmas is… soap. Specifically bar soap.
This noble mixture of alkali, fat and water that had been serving us doughtily for centuries fell victim about 20 years ago to the greatest marketing coup of my lifetime.
The ad men realised that if you started pushing the idea that it was naff, unhygienic and harsh on the skin, you could flog liquid stuff for ten times the price.
Every over-engineered pump since has testified to consumer gullibility.
Now the gathering animus towards single-use plastics means the hour is at hand for bar soap’s return, washed clean of dirty marketing tricks and the unsullied king of ablutions once more.
Naked truth about this superhero body
Comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani posted a shirtless picture of his new, ripped body
Comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani posted a shirtless picture of his new, ripped body created in preparation for his role in a Marvel movie.
Unusually, he also included a disclaimer, noting that his new look would have been impossible to achieve if it hadn’t been a part of his job, enabling him to dedicate a year to honing himself with the help of the best trainers and dieticians, all paid for by the film studio.
If only more celebrities would be so honest, instead of pretending they gorge on pizza and ice cream and are just blessed with a great metabolism.
Then we normals might stop feeling quite so bad about ourselves.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, when recently asked his opinion of the – let’s call it ‘situation’ – with Prince Andrew, replied that it was wrong to expect Royals to be ‘superhuman saints’.
Ah yes. We mustn’t expect too much. As the Bible has it: ‘Let he who is without close and enduring personal ties to a convicted predatory paedophile cast the first stone.’
An eight-year-old boy called Ryan Kaji has topped Forbes’ 2019 list of highest-earning YouTubers.
His channel Ryan’s World brings in £20 million a year. It shows mainly videos of him unboxing, playing with and ‘reviewing’ toys.
Good for him – and his Texan parents.
But am I alone in thinking this sounds less like a childhood and more like an evil scientist’s experiment in how to breed a monster?
Every year it gets easier for me to buy party shoes for the festive season. This would be a good thing, but – I’m looking for heels and I take a size one, which is basically a seven- year-old child’s size.
And seven-year-old children shouldn’t be in heels. It works out very well for me, but what a worryingly weird world to be in.
I just don’t get people who decorate their trees according to the latest trend or theme. This year it’s simple white, apparently, with touches of silver.
But where are your boxes of beloved baubles collected over the years? The fiddly lights you hate but are tradition?
The threadbare tinsel that carries more memories than glitter? Where are your souls?
Killer without real remorse
Anne Sacoolas, the woman who killed 19-year-old Harry Dunn when her car was allegedly driving on the wrong side of the road, is refusing to return voluntarily from the US to face charges.
A statement read by her lawyer said: ‘This was an accident and a criminal prosecution with a potential penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment is simply not proportionate.’
She continues to be ‘devastated’, though. Just not ‘facing consequences’ devastated. Just not ‘giving bereaved parents the justice they seek’ devastated.
Anne Sacoolas is the woman who killed 19-year-old Harry Dunn when her car was allegedly driving on the wrong side of the road