NZ Woman's Weekly

Kerre’s Christmas cruise control

I love Christmas – it’s one of my favourite celebrations. For others, it’s birthdays or wedding anniversaries, but for me, it’s Christmas.

I love having my family and friends around the dinner table, and I enjoy the process of buying suitable presents and decorating the tree. The tree decorating is a job my daughter Kate has been in charge of since she was tiny. I‘m grateful she hasn‘t relinquished that role, even though now she‘s a married woman with her own home to decorate.

We’re having 14 for dinner at our place and Kate’s dad, stepmum and little sister will be joining us, among others. We had a truly memorable Christmas at their place just out of Christchurch some years ago, complete with board games and silly hats, and Kate’s already sourced Santa hats with and without plaits and reindeer antlers for us all to wear once we‘ve reached a suitable state of – ahem – relaxation.

My Irishman would rather hide under the house which is where the dog goes when he too tires of the noise and mayhem, but given enough whisky I’m sure he can be coerced into wearing antlers.

Everyone who’s coming to dinner is bringing a plate as well, so there will be minimal stress for me. I can’t believe the pressure I put on myself when we’d first bought our house. It was the first house I’d ever owned and I was thrilled to be able to host Christmas in my very own home.

I felt it was a rite of passage to be able to produce a Christmas dinner for 20 – something my mother, her mother and her mother before her had done. But it was hard work. No wonder women are knackered at the end of the day.

I’ve put together a number of Christmas dinners over the years – on one memorable occasion, the oven gave out on me so I had to ferry the ham and the turkey across town to Kate’s flat and travel backwards and forwards between our guests and the food for several hours.

This year, I wanted to cruise into Christmas. I just wanted to enjoy the company of the people sitting around the table rather than fretting about gravy, roast vegetables and turkeys.

Guests will feel involved and the entire production won’t be left to me and me alone. To make things easier, I’m going to hire the crockery and glasses for the lunch. Perhaps I should suggest a proper dinner set as a wedding present from my friends. By hiring the dinnerware, it will simply be a matter of rinsing and returning.

Hopefully the weather will be fine. We can throw open the doors and spend hours over lunch before the more energetic amongst us suggest a walk while the more relaxed individuals grab a spot where they can snooze.

We’ll have to pace ourselves because we’re all heading off to the Boxing Day races at Ellerslie the next day and then the day after that, it’s my birthday.

After three days of festivities though, I’ll be back to the gym and swearing off the hard stuff because I have a wedding to prepare for!


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