Be prepared to enjoy Christmas

Santa's suit won't be the only thing red this weekend '“ the red mist will descend over an army of shoppers who have left it to the last minute to do their trolley dash.

Whether it be gifts or food, there are always those who cut it fine with the buying.

And believe me, as someone who has the battle scars to prove it, there is nothing worse than present shopping on December 24.

Then you have to go home to do the wrapping.

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I remember one year I was sitting in the middle of the living floor surrounded by gifts, wrapping paper and ribbon when a friend popped in to drop a present off. She was immaculately dressed and was heading off for a meal at another friend’s house while I looked like something that had fallen off a flitting!

I must admit that I’m always full of good intentions about what I aim to have done by Christmas Eve but I seldom reach my self-imposed targets.

However, even if I do say so myself, this year I am pretty organised for the big day.

As I grab a few moments to write this column it is safe in the knowledge that the presents are all bought, wrapped (very tastefully) and under the tree.

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You should see the little ones’ faces when they come in to the house and see them, it’s hilarious watching them trying to give them a prod or a read the gift tags to see what is for them.

But there’s definitely no opening them until Christmas Day.

The cards were posted in time for the last posting date and this year, I’m afraid if you don’t hear from me that’s because you didn’t send me a card in 2015. Before I recycled last year’s, I jotted down who I had received one from and used that as a guide for my card writing.

A lot of the food shopping is done and the rest is on order to be picked up in plenty of time.

I’m hosting everyone this year, but my plan is to encourage lots of helpers. Whoever coined the phrase “too many cooks ...” obviously didn’t think of Christmas.

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Why should one poor woman, well it usually is although I do accept some men will be in charge of all things culinary, spend a huge part of the holiday slaving over a hot stove? I’m delighted if someone wants to help.

Again preparation is the key. Over the years, I’ve religiously followed recipes from top cooks but now I tend to use the tried and trusted versions that everyone likes.

Although I do think that Jamie Oliver does know how to make a good roast potato!

Merry Christmas to you all.