Seasons greeting from all of us at 1973. Our gift to you this year, 12 tips for a faff-free Christmas so you can revel in your festivities. Enjoy!
Keep Christmas perky
Does your tree shed needles quicker than your occassional relatives finish that bottle of port you’ve been saving?
TIP! Many of us put our tree by a radiator or fireplace, but all that heat will quickly dry the tree out. A nice cool place will help it last longer. So put it in the hallway; porch; garden or better still — leave it in the forest where you can visit it occasionally… like those relatives. Also, hide the good port.
Trouble with your nuts
Everyone buys walnuts at Christmas and everyone realises that they forgot to buy nutcrackers. Fear not!
TIP! Place two walnuts, side by side, in the palm of your hand. Make sure the hardest parts of the nuts — the ridges — are overlapping, then close your hand and squeeze. They should crack open easily. If this doesn’t work, the time honoured sledgehammer is a great stand-by (once the bruising on your hands subsides).
Wrap up your turkey
Never quite cracked the perfect turkey?
TIP! Many chefs have a secret weapon: ‘butter muslin’, available from kitchen shops. Soak the material in a bowl of melted butter, then drape it over the turkey before popping it in the oven. Moist meat and crunchy skin will be your reward. Don’t make the mistake I made and think an old pair of pants will have the same effect.
Always win at Christmas crackers
Do you never get your hands on that coveted key ring bottle opener or tiny plastic clip-on moustache – if you buy cheap crackers?
TIP! Hold your end of the cracker lower, so it tilts towards you, and go for a slow, controlled pull, with minimum twisting. Console your child when you win, by informing them it’s a character building life lesson.
Save money on wrapping paper
Christmas wrapping paper can be expensive.
TIP! Instead, buy a large roll of brown paper and some string. Your presents will look both charmingly old-fashioned and on-trend minimalist chic… and of course, cheap! At which point remind your shocked family of the true meaning of Christmas and watch them shamefully unwrap your latest homemade Hobbycraft creations.
Keep hangovers at bay
Assuming a hangover is the worst thing you have to deal with the morning after the office party.
TIP! Forget the Bloody Mary. Chinese researchers tested 57 drinks, from herbal tea to milk, and found that the most successful in abating hangover symptoms was… (drum roll, please…) Sprite! For other embarrassing office party issues, get a new job or leave the country.
Keep the music going
As no one seems to own CD players these days all music is played off tiny mobile phone speakers.
TIP! Pop your phone into a glass and the sound will be instantly amplified. All together now: “It was Christmas Eve, babe, in the drunk tank…” Did I say ‘empty’ glass. I meant empty glass. Pop your phone into an ‘empty glass’. Hello?.. Are you th..? Hello?
Keep your snowman alive
Imagine it’s such a white Christmas that Bing Crosby is serenading you outside, but your snowman is melting.
TIP! Build your snowy friend in a shady part of the garden. Then spray the snowman with a light mist of water, so the outside freezes. However if, as expected, it’s 150˚ outside, you can make a passable snowman by Sellotaping a carrot to the outside of your fridge.
Re-gifting is recycling
Not every gift you receive is a good one. Nobody ‘dreamed of’ a Moroccan Argan Oil Scented Yankee Candle.
TIP! Recycle those gifts and don’t feel guilty about it. It’s the thought that counts — doesn’t have to be your thought. No one will know or care. Until you forget to remove the tag with your name on it. Also don’t be surprised or upset when, next year, you get a Moroccan Argan Oil Scented Yankee Candle.
Lights in a tangle
We’ve all been there — you excitedly unpack the decorations, only to find the lights are so tangled you’d need a Christmas miracle to rescue them.
TIP! Buy new ones. Life is too short. It’s too late to help this year. Next time, instead of just dumping them in a box expecting Elves to untangle them in July, wrap them around a coat hanger and they won’t tangle up when you unearth them next Christmas.
The ‘Lego’ principle
You need a new wardrobe from Ikea, but it’s either that or the kids’ presents.
TIP! As many children’s presents have to be assembled and take so long that parents are left building it long into the night (thanks Lego), simply buy the wardrobe and put a Lego picture on the box. By the time it’s built, the child will have lost interest and you will have a super new Songesand wardrobe.
Die Hard is a Christmas film
Okay it isn’t how John McClane originally planned to spend Christmas, but it is how you plan to spend yours.
TIP! As Bruce swears about 300 times in the film, you have to pick the optimum time. Granny and Grandad will have dropped off by 4pm, so send the kids to their room with Lego. That will give you three hours minimum. Your partner has done all the work by now and has swore more than Bruce anyway. Welcome to the party, pal!