Roisin Gorman’s Open Letter… on Festive fuss

‘This year everything sneaked up and suddenly Christmas is in five minutes and I haven’t even bought too much Prosecco’
It’s a Wonderful Life, starring James Stewart, is a favourite at this time of year

It’s a Wonderful Life, starring James Stewart, is a favourite at this time of year

‘Tis the season to panic wildly and think when did Christmas get here?

Some years you stroll into the festive season with the carrots peeled the presents wrapped by the time the last kangaroo testicle’s been eaten on I’m a Celebrity. Usually by mid-December I’ve already had the anxiety dream that the turkey’s gone vegan or I’ve forgotten to cook three types of potatoes.

The Christmas cook genuinely lies awake a fortnight ahead of the big meal and thinks about how they’ll do the parsnips. It’s a rock ‘n’ roll life.

This year everything sneaked up like the Grinch and suddenly Christmas is in five minutes and I haven’t even bought too much Prosecco and drank it all yet.

A vague feeling of unease was starting to sink in where my festive spirit should be which not even buying emergency turkey for the freezer just in case fixed.

The solution turned out to be simply decking the halls or putting up the tree since our house isn’t big enough to have halls.

As each decoration emerged from the dead spider tomb of an attic cupboard it brought back a fuzzy warm memory, which, as is the way with memories, had filtered out the sweating in queues in a winter coat, the 7am Christmas morning start with young kids, the cooking of parsnips that no one eats. I never learn.

My most precious decorations are empty matchboxes wrapped in paper and ribbons, made on maternity leave with the first, and imminent Christmas baby. Three years later there was another imminent Christmas baby. I really never learn.

I add a new decoration to the baubles each year and could probably add another tree to hang them on, but this is no time for taste, so they’re all jammed in there.

A few artisanal beauties have been added over the years, like the tiny trees make from twigs I bought in France knowing I’d never see anything like them again. Three months later they were at a Christmas market a bus ride away. Those artisans get about.

I have the handmade elves’ hats made to fire up my sewing skills. They’re so terrible I tell people the kids made them when I wasn’t looking.

There is every type of Santa under the sun. He’s on skis, flying a plane, all in white, as a rubber duck, as a robin, with one foot. We decided he’d lost it in an unfortunate sleigh accident.

The Santas are positively sophisticated next to the gold sequin glitter bauble and the mini chandelier, bought in a bout of Kardashian understatement.

This year’s addition is a slightly classier blue velvet star which will nestle next to the angel, whose wings after years of faithful service now look like she arrived in Storm Barra.

The sequin-inspired stroll down memory lane finally brought a little bit of mindfulness and the realisation that Christmas isn’t on December 25 with a cookathon and a feeling of anti-climax, it’s right now.

The days before it can create memories just as special, like making everyone sit through It’s a Wonderful Life and then realising it’s two hours of misery with a happy ending tacked on. I’m still apologising for that.

Or when my then five-year-old son announced to his sister at 6am on Christmas morning that she’d got a High School Musical DVD, after rummaging through all the presents on a solo run. It’s time to start teasing him about that. It must be Christmas.


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