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The psychology of Christmas


As Delia says, it's time to stop burying your head in the sand over Christmas cooking! So get organised and you'll find that it's all a lot easier than you think...

Christmas Easy 1If you want an easy Christmas, the first thing you’re going to have to do is face up to its imminence. It’s coming quicker than you think, and it’s not going to go away. So, why not just give in and stop playing psychological games with yourself, pretending you have more time than you do? I’m saying this because it takes one to know one, and I’ve spent my entire life thinking I have more time than I do.

This is a grown-up, adult decision. So why not decide right now to use the time you have wisely? Good. Together we can now move ahead and, this year, sit down, make a proper plan and not be the frazzled human beings who have to ‘do’ Christmas.

Instead, we are going to be utterly organised and in control, and follow a carefully constructed plan, so that the entire Christmas holiday from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve, will be done and dusted in the space of just seven days. That means six preparation days ahead of time, plus some time on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve for the final touches. These days will be cool, calm and collected, with absolutely no stress, so that you, the cook, can then relax and enjoy the entire holiday just as much as everyone else.

Begin right now by getting hold of your diary and blocking out six whole days that will be totally devoted to shopping and food preparation. I promise you it’s not a big deal; in fact, on my test run, I found it hassle-free and, quite honestly, I really enjoyed it. And then, just imagine – a Christmas filled with peace and joy, including the ‘goodwill to all’ bit, instead of the waspish, tired grump of yesteryear!

This online content will include my own personal menus – in other words, this is how my own Christmas will be planned and executed. For me Christmas will be home-made, but with a few shortcuts. Home-made can seem daunting because there’s a whole lot of ingredients involved, but it’s really deceptive – if you can organise the shopping properly and use the time in a planned way, it will turn out to be quite easy.

However, you have a choice: you can follow the plans to the letter or you can dip in and out as you will. My own choice of menus now has an older and wiser edge. I don’t need to impress anyone, so no ego-cooking here. Instead, I’m keeping it simple and very traditional. I’m not interested in what the Chinese serve or what happens in the south of France. It’s the one time when I want to be very British and enjoy all those wonderful Christmassy aromas, flavours and special treats that happen only once a year.

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