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All I can say is that it had better still be in the boxes that I packed last year, I can’t do a Christmas without my stash of fairy dust.

You know how it goes, the present lists have been written (and if, like me, you have bought most of them from online shopping). The food menus are sorted and you have brought down all the boxes from the loft (or in my case from the shed dedicated to Christmas decorations as I can’t throw anything away). Then the fairy dust comes out and “poof” it all comes together!

Well, that’s the theory. The reality is a little different. The lights don’t work so I buy some more. Don’t you just love the battery operated ones that give up on themselves during Christmas lunch or New Year’s Eve! Or worse, solar lights that you have diligently wrapped around shrubs and trees only to find that they just don’t have the oomph to keep going all night.

Unless you ordered in October, the butcher probably won’t be able to take another order for a proper turkey. By that I mean one that isn’t impersonating a big chicken and which has legs and breasts that you can carve into decent slices instead of sliver into miniscule portions.

Then there are the presents and how long it takes to wrap them – and do so in secrecy! My lot could find a hidden gift in a block of flats! How do you feel about the cellophane-stapled gifts that you wait patiently for in French shops? At least it shows that you actually went to a shop but I miss personalised wrapping paper, handmade gift tags and bows et al. I am my own worst enemy!

Oh yes, and don’t forget “the tree”! I have tried potted varieties but, guess what, they didn’t make it. One year I went to a forestry chap who dutifully cut down a beauty but I couldn’t get it to stand upright. I wedged it, planted it, screwed it into one of those stand things but no, it was always on the wonk. It finished up nestled between a couple of bags of cement and tied to the wall to keep it in place. So last year, I bought a tree online, complete with a made-to-measure wooden stand. It arrived, I was beside myself with anticipation, slotted it in and stood back. An hour later my son was still on his hands and knees with bits of wood trying to level it out – it didn’t go well.

Finally, the stockings have been snuck into place and it’s off to bed exhausted, apprehensive and, at the same time, giggly with excitement and that’s when the fairy dust really works. I sleep, wake up earlier than everyone else, pop the turkey in the oven, open the bubbles and the big day begins. Thanks to that little magic sprinkle, it all comes together and a monumental family event is an absolute joy.

Fairy dust? Definitely! Then again it could, at least in part, be down to the bubbles ….

First published in the November/December 2018 issue of The Local Buzz

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