Do you know the last posting day for airmail packages to Vanuatu? Can you tell the difference between a chestnut roaster and a turkey baster? And can you tie one of those curly ribbons without which no present is truly presentable?
If your answer to one or more of those questions is “No”, then you need help, and you need it now.
Christmas is just around the corner (if you hadn’t quite realised yet) and there’s still lots more to be done.
So here it is – your Ultimate Festive Cut-Out-And-Keep-And-Stick-To-The-Kitchen-Wall-And-Forget-About-It-Until-It’s-Far-Too-Late Christmas Checklist.
- CARDS: What do you mean, you’ve posted them already? You can’t have – not all of them. OK, you’ve been through your address book and decided who to send them to. But you’ve left off that family from down the road who moved to Canada two years ago. Sure as baubles is baubles, you’ll find a card from them popping through the letterbox on December 22, when it’s far too late to do anything about it. And nothing will assuage your guilt.
- DECORATIONS: Based on 20 years of painstaking scientific research, Dixon’s Second String Theory postulates that any string of fairy lights that worked perfectly well last year will fail within five minutes of unpacking them and plugging them in again this year. It further states that no DIY shop within a radius of 10 miles will have the right fuses. And it finally predicts that the best way to get them working again is to chuck them out and buy a whole new set. All of which explains why fairy light makers are rich, and you are not.
- FOOD: There was a time not long ago when your choices were limited to a monstrously large turkey or a monstrously expensive goose. These days, of course, variety is the key to spicing up your Christmas dinner table. So if you don’t like the idea of one of those four-bird roasts they’re always advertising on telly, why not try a five-bird roast? Or a six-bird roast? Or a grotesque amalgam of herb cheese, smoked salmon, chilli jam and filou pastry? The only limit is your own imagination. But don’t go overboard on the quail’s eggs and pomegranate sorbet. It has a nasty habit of repeating on you.
- CHRISTMAS CRAFTS: You can crochet your own Nativity scene, you can create tree hangings from old paperclips, and you can even fashion decoupage tea-trays to give to your nearest and dearest. Let’s face it, though, life’s too short, and there’s only one Kirstie Allsopp. And by no stretch of the imagination is it you.
- OFFICE PARTIES: It’s OK to enjoy yourself, and have a few drinks, and strut your funky stuff on the dance floor. But never, ever, ever succumb to the karaoke. There are few festive experiences less pleasant than waking up on a Saturday morning with a rasping sore throat and the strains of Beyoncé’s Single Ladies still ringing in your ears. And you can take that from a man who’s tried it.
- TREE: Don't worry, there’s still plenty of time to get a tree. Yes, really.
- PRESENTS: At this late stage it doesn’t really matter what you buy. Just keep the receipts, and remember that Amazon don’t deliver on Christmas morning.
- DRINK: Oh all right then.