IN THE name of austerity (ie. maternity pay ending) the Smiths are having a ‘DIY’ Christmas.
Back in October when I first had the idea I imagined myself spending several happy hours making handmade chocolates, jars of chutney and jam (with beautifully-designed labels in the style of Cath Kidston) and stunning Christmas cards adorned with the baby’s handprints.
In this snowy (obviously) dream world I also envisioned my husband cooking up a pan of mulled wine and cracking out the (home-made) mince pies, which we would share while I worked – all with Christmas carols playing softly in the background.
My imaginings also went so far as to include relatives near and far opening said gifts on Christmas morning and exclaiming over how much thought and – dare I say it? – pure talent had gone into each item.
“I know I got a PS4 from Santa,” I imagined my little niece saying. “But Auntie Anna’s presents are by far the best I have ever had! How creative and clever she is! I hope I grow up to be just like her!”
Clearly I am an idiot.
I could not manage chutney and I could not manage jam.
(Although if anyone is after a burnt strawberry goo then I am your girl).
The baby would not sit still while I painted her hands (farewell, unique Christmas cards) and I gave up on the idea of making chocolates and just ate chocolate instead.
In the end I made some salt dough tree decorations, stamped with the baby’s footprints, but I’m not convinced I baked them for long enough and I’m pretty sure they’ll have disintegrated before you can say ‘January sales’.
All this effort also cost me way more than if I’d simply bought everybody a box of Tesco Finest biscuits in the first place.
So, in conclusion, I am no Kirstie Allsopp and it’s fair to say nobody will be exclaiming over my artistic talents come Christmas morning.
Now – will somebody please pass me a bottle of shop-bought mulled wine?
I’ve got a house covered in paint, glitter and the slight smell of burnt jam – and I’ve still got all my Christmas shopping to do.
Article first published in The Westmorland Gazette on December 3, 2015.