How was your Christmas? Did you manage to survive it without drowning yourself in a carton of brandy-flavoured custard?
I have come through relatively unscathed, however I have developed some rules which I plan to follow next year to make things run a little more smoothly.
Rule Number 1: Never attempt a new recipe for the first time on Christmas Day.
This should be common sense, but I do tend to get carried away with all the free Christmas magazines that find their way onto my kitchen table at this time of year. All the recipes look so delicious, so easy, so new and exciting. Stop. Right. There. There is a reason why Women's Weekly have 'triple tested' on their front cover. It takes a couple of attempts to make sure the recipe actually works, that the timing is right, that a major ingredient hasn't been left out, that it is not full of raw onion. Unless you really hate your family, don't use them as Guinea pigs on Christmas Day.
Rule Number 2: If you buy battery-operated toys, also buy batteries.
Funnily enough I learned this rule not from the kids, but from hubby who was most disappointed he could not play with his new PacMan alarm clock because I hadn't put batteries in it.
Rule Number 3: You have probably forgotten someone.
Just accept that you will forget someone in your Christmas present buying frenzy. Buy a box of Ferrero Rocher, wrap it up and leave the gift tag blank. Isn't that what everyone does? Just don't recycle last year's box of chocolates. Best before dates are a dead giveaway.
Rule Number 4: If you have two kids, buy two of everything.
It is inevitable that the five year old will want whatever you bought the two year old. Accept it. Buy two and save yourself the drama.
Rule Number 5: The longer you spend making Christmas Dinner, the less of it the kids will eat.
At least grandparents appreciate the time and effort you put in, even if the kids whinge and moan and demand Vegemite sandwiches for dinner.
Rule Number 6: There won't be enough space for all the new toys.
I suggest chucking out one of the kids.
Rule Number 7: Get your guests to bring their own plate and cutlery to take home and wash.
Paper plates and plastic forks are a good idea until you realise the bin is already full of wrapping paper and Barbie packaging.
Rule Number 8: What goes up must come down.
If you are getting heart palpitations every time you eye the Christmas Tree groaning with its 10,000 ornaments and 1,000 flashing lights, chances are you have put too many decorations up. It is never as much fun taking it down again. Try the minimalist look. Or do what my sister does and cover the whole thing with a garbage bag, fully loaded, and stick it in the shed ready for next year.
Rule Number 9: Christmas Day will be the only day of the year one of the kids sleeps in.
Trying to convince the other one to wait before opening presents is a battle best fought with chocolate bribes.
Rule Number 10: The end of Christmas will leave an empty hole in your life and wallet.
But don't worry, Hot Cross Buns will be out in the shops next week.