Christmas Dinner by Barbara Nadel

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This year, just like last year, my family and I will be going to a local pub for our Christmas dinner. It’s not cheap and we can’t have exactly what we want, but who cares? It beats the crap out of doing it ourselves. Here are a few reasons why.

1.) Getting up at 2am to do battle with a turkey that can be seen from space and then realising that you can’t get it into the oven.

2.) Peeling an infinite number of potatoes under the watchful eye of your mother who tells you not to ‘waste any’.

3.) Doing that putting a cross thing into the bottom of a million sprouts in fearful anticipation of the flatulence to come.

4.) Being a slave to timing. ‘In five minutes I’ll have to put the sausages in then, ten minutes later, it’ll be time to mix the stuffing, mull the wine and take my own life.’

5.) Wondering what the hell to do with the Christmas pudding. I haven’t made a Christmas pudding since the last Ice Age and so I always buy one. Why, I have no idea. But they always face me with the dilemma of whether to put it/them in the oven for several millennia (and have something that tastes nice) or shove it/them into the microwave for 2 minutes (and have something that tastes like a tramps’ shoe).

6.) Keeping my husband’s hands off the mince pies. This is virtually impossible and I have never known why I bothered, but I do/did.

7.) The whole booze thing becomes very vexed when you do Christmas dinner yourself. In my family some of us drink and some of us don’t and some of don’t but would like to even though we know we shouldn’t. So great vats of drink both alcoholic and non alcoholic have to be purchased at the kind of cost that would keep parts of Belize going for a month.

8.) Massive arguments about bugger all happen when you cook Christmas dinner. ‘Did you put parsnips in with the roast potatoes?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Oh, no I fucking hate parsnips, why didn’t you put them in a separate tray?’ Through gritted teeth, ‘Because there was no room in the oven. The turkey that can be seen from space is trying to kick the potato tray out as it is.’ Then someone cries.

9.) Nobody ever wants to set the dinner table or if they do they want to cover it with mad stuff like random sprigs of mistletoe and glitter.

10.) By the time dinner is actually served everyone is too wound up and pissed off to want to eat it. So we all stuff it down with massive helpings of bad grace and then all, as a group, refuse Christmas Pudding (all the mince pies have gone).

So the pub it is! Happy days and Happy Christmas and New Year!

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