MERRY CHRISTMAS … and a few quick tips

by jawaraalleyne

About 10 hours ago I had Christmas Dinner, which among other things, consisted of a whopping roast chicken and tasty parsnips. Once again I raise my glass to the chef(‘s), despite the fact that our head chef was convinced the meal would be a disaster. After dinner came a bit of climbing and flying exercises, which was followed by an incredible Christmas Pudding (which in Cayman is just referred to as Christmas cake), topped off with a bit of cream and desert wine. Is it okay if I drool in my reminiscence of the christmas pudding? It was delicious! After pudding (which coincidentally also means desert) we had a bit of coffee and biscuits, which was immediately followed by Alex’s brother falling asleep in front of the fire. It was less than five minutes before his mother unleashed a plethora  of tickles and the attacks begun. This reminds me a bit of my own mother. What is up with mother’s and tickling? This war ended with an imagery of the famous Christmas line “Oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh”, but without the sleigh. It was decided that we would end the festivities with with a movie, which was going according to plan, until everyone fell asleep before the movie even started. Sounds like the perfect Christmas evening of fun, festivities and a bit of bonding, except… today is not Christmas but actually Christmas Eve.

Upon interviewing my friend Alex with my regular set of silly and sometimes trivial ‘why’ questions, this time trying to deduce their reasons for celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve. The answer I got was very straight forward and i’m surprised I haven’t heard of this happening more frequently. He said ” well, Christmas dinner takes a lot of work, effort and almost all of the day to cook, so we prefer to do this on Christmas Eve, which means that on Christmas day, my mother won’t have that much to do in the area of preparing dinner and we’ll have more time to spend on Christmas, doing Christmassy things” (my apologies for the run-on sentence, but when he spoke he didn’t stop to put in his full stops and commas, shame on him). I find this outlook quite sincere and simply genius, and you get two days of Christmas, which just makes the whole festivities better because it isn’t over in a flash.

I do understand that a lot of families, can’t do this because of work and different traditional set-ups. In my household for instance this would be impossible  simply because everyone in my house works at a bank. If you know anything about a bank as it relates to holidays, is probably the fact that Christmas holidays basically don’t exist. If your lucky you’ll get a few days off or sometimes a few hours on Christmas Eve to quickly leave work and race to get the rest of your shopping finished and run home to get preparing for what’s to come (a Christmas disaster, miracle or if you’re really good a perfect stress free day trying to make everyone happy).

Now I’m not a chef, nor am I an expert on Christmas preparations and I also realise that every family will have different ways of doing thing’s and further still, different countries tackle christmas in their own ways. Having established that I am no Aunt Jemima or Betty Crocker nor husband of either, but simply someone with a keen eye and a working cranium. I will now proceed to express a few recommendations to make your Christmas a bit easier.

The two biggest problems at Christmas from what I can tell is time and cost. My first tip is for you to keep it simple. Make a record of your essentials and start with those. Christmas dinner isn’t about being extravagant and having a bit of every type of food possible. Keeping it simple is a big bonus because your wallets will love you for it. This recommendation works better for a smaller household for obvious reasons. If you have a large family or a tradition of family and family friends all meeting up at one house for dinner, it might be a good idea to involve everyone by asking them to bring a few dishes. Saving both on time and cost.

Probably the most important and useful thing I could say, which probably has been repeated numerously and is relevant not only at Christmas, but for every project is to start as early as possible. This tip is so often ignored and is key to beating the clock. It might write everything down that needs to be done (as boring as it is, it’s very helpful) and crossing them off your list as soon as they get done. Simple method but very effective as it allows you to see exactly what you have left to do, which is a constant reminder that you need to get a move on.

A few quick tips:

– Never enter a store at Christmas without knowing what you’re going for. The sales and offers on things un-necessary will attack you like a school of fish after some tasty bait, and if your not strong, you might just walk out there with a bunch of superfluous purchases.

– Continuing from my last point, if you start early,  you can easily spot the necessaries when they are on sale.

– Start gift shopping in November and get them out of the way as quickly as possible (and on a different pay cheque).

– Shop on Ebay and Amazon.

– Eat a cookie (always makes me feel like life can get no better, it might do the same for you).

Wherever you are, and however you celebrate Christmas, whether in the hot white sand of the Cayman Islands, or cold white snow in Germany, have a very Merry Christmas!

Christmas tree The Fireplace