More grot than grotto


Call me old-fashioned but I can’t really get going on Christmas until December. I seem to have been hovering at the Christmas starting blocks for weeks, itching to start, yet not wanting to peak too early.

So how ironic then, that now I can see December sliding into view like the Star over Bethlehem I already feel I’m way behind. I should have spent November decluttering – the house is full of stuff, some of it not even ours. I keep looking at the sitting room and trying to work out where the tree is going to go this year – we always put it in the same place, but it’s not the same if we can’t have a good old family discussion beforehand about moving the TV or blocking up the door to the garden. And this year I really want a few tasteful arrangements of pine cones and cinnamon sticks tied with tartan ribbon on the mantelpiece, but at this rate they are going to have to balance on a pile of old magazines and gas bills, nestled between stray earrings and chargers for phones I’ve never even seen.

I’ve missed stir-up Sunday, so this weekend will be clear up Sunday. I’m banishing the coats from the front door and limiting everyone to one pair of shoes each in the shoe rack. I’ve bought a brilliant advent calendar for the mantelpiece, but before I can hang it up I need to be able to see the mantelpiece. And while I’m at it I’m dispatching everyone to the dentist – Doughnut included – I want everyone’s teeth to be tartar free before I crack them all on the silver charms I really am going to hide in the Christmas pud this year.

The trouble is I do this every year – I work out that if I clear one room a day I’ll have the place looking like a cross between Kirstie Allsopp’s country retreat and a Downton Abbey Christmas set before you can say Jack Frost. Then I jump the gun, get the Christmas box out of the shed and start covering the teetering pile of trainers in the shoe rack with fairy lights and pomanders. Instead of making do and mending I start eBaying and spending. Instead of the house looking like how I imagined, we end up with a cross between The Pound Shop on Christmas Eve and the inside of a Quality Street tin.  So, like a teenager who spends more time writing their revision timetable than revising, I have to pull in my reindeer horns and regroup. Before I know it it’ll be Christmas Eve and I’ll be saying, right, I’ll just have this last Bailey’s then I’ll start clearing up. If I do one room an hour I’ll still have time to do the wrapping and write the Christmas cards before Father Christmas pops down the chimney. Watch this space.

Posted by Amanda Blinkhorn

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