Lynne Mortimer’s countdown to Christmas - What is the perfect Christmas?

Lynne Mortimer is getting ready for Christmas

Lynne Mortimer is getting ready for Christmas - Credit: Archant

If I encounter another “top ten” Christmas tips to make that festive time perfect, I shall b***** scream.

Why would I, 58 and human, be striving for some ideal propagated by the marketing fantasy that is perfect Christmas?

The best any of us can hope for is that:

(a) there are no big rows

(b) dinner is served within an hour of estimated eating time

(c) the teenagers are not too hung over to join the rest of the family.

I am the last person to offer advice but here are my top 10 tips for avoiding inadequacy at Christmas:

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1. Do not buy a Christmas cookbook. I have Delia and the Hairy Bikers; read them and weep. I’m never going to swan through a doorway bearing plates of home cooked nibbles on Christmas Eve. They’ll get a packet of M&S sausage rolls.

2. Don’t be seduced into making your own baubles. Just because Kirsty Allsop did it doesn’t mean you have to.

3. Have a master list of lists so you know what lists you have written.

4. Do not watch any TV programmes with the word ‘Christmas’ in the title until December 18. This week, avoid Jimmy’s Grow Your Own Christmas Dinner (C4, 8pm, Friday). To be frank, it’s too late to start with a turkey egg now. Also, A Great British Christmas with Sarah Beeny (C4, 8pm, Monday).

5. Remember the true meaning of Christmas… something about Bethlehem.

6. There is no point in Stollen or a chocolate Christmas log

7. Don’t over-plan. This way lies madness.

8. Put the paper boy/girl’s tip in an envelope and drop it off at the newsagent. Otherwise you will spend days hovering by the front door, vainly trying to apprehend them before they speed off on their bicycles or, in the case of one of our paperboys, in his mum’s Volvo.

9. Do not believe the woman in your life if she claims to want “nothing” for Christmas. If you intend to take it literally, get it in writing.

10. It’s okay to hit the sherry bottle from December 1

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