Gingerbread houses are expected to be BIG this year
Every year it feels like Christmas kicks off earlier than the previous year. All of us havea friend who has written her cards by the end of the November, or completed her Christmas shopping a month ahead of schedule, or got the tree up on the first day of December. Well, beat this Xmas keenos: I recently met someone who signed off on his Christmas back in April! In fact he's already preparing for next year. I'm talking about Morrisons' very own father of Christmas, Neil Nugent, otherwise known as the supermarket's executive chef. "Christmas is over for me now," he told me at the BritMums bloggers' Xmas do this week. "I'm on next year now."
The chef, who was poached from Waitrose by Morrisons in 2011, has signed off on 972 product launches for Christmas, all of which have been personally tasted over a period of time. Now he is waiting with bated breath to see whether we (the customers) will warm to his festive feast. "My neck's on the block for the range," he admitted, perhaps mindful of his 42-week old turkeys about to meet their doom.
It is that time of year again. I work myself to a standstill and then some old guy in a red suit takes all the credit. Worse still, I am complicit in perpetuating the lie. Thanks to my dishonesty, my son fervently believes Santa is up there with the superheroes. I hate to bring feminism into this, but how can we ever achieve equality between the sexes when women bear the brunt of Operation Christmas?
Phew! And that's on top of normal life and all the other grey, nameless chores women accomplish in a working week. We are the unsung heroes of Christmas logistics. Still, there is something contagious about the excitement building in our house. Letters to Santa are being penned and theories on how he manages to get round all of those homes in one night are being expounded. For the little people, Christmas is stupendous - a heady mix of magic, wakefulness and wish-fulfillment. I am not so jaundiced that I can't remember the heart-thumping thrill of Christmas Eve. I just wish we stayed a little closer to the truth and called our festive superhero 'Mother Christmas'. Maybe kids would even believe in her existencefor a little longer. Because let's face it - only a woman could juggle that many baubles and get home to cook the turkey.
Emma Clark Lam is the author of A Sister for Margot