Hilary Fannin: Don’t lose your Fitbit in the turkey and other Christmas advice

For last-minute gift ideas, try a bamboo toilet roll from Gwyneth Paltrow – only $30 each

It’s wonderfully reassuring, as I limp towards another Christmas (older, poorer and vaguely happier), to know that my unmatched plates and glasses are as close to on-trend this year as they’ll ever be. Photograph: iStock

It’s wonderfully reassuring, as I limp towards another Christmas (older, poorer and vaguely happier), to know that my unmatched plates and glasses are as close to on-trend this year as they’ll ever be. Photograph: iStock

 

Hang on, where are we? Oh yep, December 20th, the last Friday before Christmas! Only four more sleeps until you lose yourself in a vortex of tinsel and giblets. Feeling a little fretful, are we? Thinking about drowning our sorrows in a bottle of Bols and diving headlong into a tub of glacé cherries?

Well, fear not, there’s still lashings of time left to deck the halls with boughs of folly, to lasso a goose and ransack the supermarket shelves for icing sugar and a Westlife Christmas album, the first to dust over your mince pies and the second to hurl at unwanted relations who might come a-calling, their tongues as slack as Ronan Keating’s once-loved leatherette trousers. 

“But what about last-minute Christmas gifts?” you ask through a mouthful of pilfered chocolate orange and bits of reindeer-decorated Sellotape. “What say of eco Auntie Alice with her wild-eyed stare, her penchant for shredded organic cabbage, her nut loaves and parsnip pastes and her fetching socks hand-crafted from recycled boybands?”

Well, let me see . . . 

How about a couple of $30-apiece bamboo toilet rolls from Gwyneth Paltrow’s Christmas gift shop? Enough to set any woke heart and environmentally conscious bottom alight, wouldn’t you say?

“All right then, what of her sister, Agatha? Not in the first flush of youth, I’ll grant you, but the new teeth are doing wonders for her self-esteem. Game for a laugh is our Agatha!” 

Hmmm . . .

How about a pair of $400 golden handcuffs from Mme Paltrow’s extensive gift collection for lovers? 

“Auntie Agatha in golden handcuffs? Are you mad, woman? She may have a new set of sparklers, but don’t let that be putting ideas in your head! That woman is the backbone of the Bally-go-shag-me-sideways tidy towns committee! Agatha in a pair of golden handcuffs? She’ll brain you with a potted poinsettia and her prized ornamental elf if you’re not careful! And believe me, you don’t want to know what that woman can get up to with a secateurs!”

Oh yes, Christmas preparations! How to shed a little sparkle on these cold, dark nights when Netflix is down and we’re forced to watch Ireland’s Fittest Family? 

Well, the most important thing to remember this Christmas is that in 2019 it’s all about nostalgia! Trust me, I have it on good authority. I read an article about it in Woman’s Woolly Womb magazine. 

To create a genuinely nostalgic Christmas ambience in your home, you begin by gathering all your clapped-out, trashy Christmas decorations together and then arranging them artfully inside glass containers. (No, not Pyrex bowls, not the cat’s dish, not jam jars or empty bottles of Sauvignon. What you need are glass cloches and kilner jars – you know, something retro and tasteful that you might have in your home but which I almost certainly don’t have in mine.) 

Non-gender-specific gingerbread people

Next, group these decorated glass containers into a huddle on a carefully distressed table in the middle of your vast, holly-swagged hallway, placing alongside them a tureen of mulled wine and a plate of non-gender-specific gingerbread people, which you’ve baked using your granny’s yellowing laudanum-stained recipe. 

Oh you’ll laugh, glitteringly and long, as your snowy-booted neighbours come a-carolling on your doorstep, clapping their gloved hands together in anticipation of getting their gnashers around your spicy offerings. And, em . . .

Sorry, nope, that’s about as much of the nostalgia article as I retained. I got distracted by a sidebar piece about how to make my very own pomander balls. Pomander balls! Goodness, it’s been a while. 

It’s wonderfully reassuring, as I limp towards another Christmas (older, poorer and vaguely happier), to know that my unmatched plates and glasses, my ancient fairy lights and baggy Christmas jumper are as close to on-trend this year as they’ll ever be. What a joy to pluck the dusty post-menopausal angel out of the battered shoe box of Christmas decorations once again this year, to look her in her crooked, occluded eye, and tell her that despite the decades she’s spent clinging onto the bowers, listening to our drunken talk, our weeping and warbling, our sorrows and regrets and clumsy restitutions, she’s once again all the rage. 

Anyway, I hope you all have a lovely, peaceful Christmas, nostalgic or not. 

There are only two things you need to remember: buy eco Christmas crackers, or none at all (this world does not need more mini-dice); and don’t lose your Fitbit in the turkey cavity – honestly, wearable technology won’t improve the stuffing.  

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