My ability to write is being impeded by this most wonderful time of the year.

The biggest obstacle is the existence of my children. Of course, they exist throughout the year, but in December they are much more…existy.

They need to be bought gifts. Their teachers need to be bought gifts. They need to be taken to things and picked up again. Plus both of them are permanently either ill, in need of a prescription or attending an appointment in place of medical practice.

At the hospital this afternoon, we discovered that youngest’s severe babyhood allergy to sesame is here to stay for the rest of his life. As a middle-class child growing up in this Quinoa Community, the constant vigilance around houmous is exhausting. The vigilance required around South East Asian food will make his future gap year plans a nightmare. The only solution is to flee our kind and seek asylum among the working classes.

(NB: Do the working classes eat houmous and Nasi Goreng? If you are working class and consume these items, do write in and let us know…)

Alongside these parental commitments, another major obstacle to my writing time is that I am now fully engaged in my traditional December marathon training

You cannot expect to run the Christmas Day Drinking Marathon without undertaking adequate preparation. You need to be ready to approach a glass of fizz at 9am, entirely unfazed by the hour, and then go on to sustain a solid sixteen hours of being moderately spangled. 

Your training should also include a gradual expansion of your repertoire; many unusual forms of alcohol may be encountered on Christmas Day. After the routine fizz, sherry and wine, you may be overtaken by a sudden impulse to drink Guinness at 4pm, ‘just to see you through.’ You may also decide that a brandy is the way forward at 6pm and are almost certain to make the wise decision to imbibe two litres of Baileys before bed.

(NB: If you are on the wagon, you must not make the mistake of allowing yourself to be the fixer all day. If everyone is dozing off at 5pm, do NOT get up and start tidying. You have as much right to a snooze as the rest of us. Indeed you can enjoy the advantage that your nap will actually revive you, rather than leaving you feeling as though ten thousand Christmas crackers are exploding in your head).

My training schedule this weekend included a night out in the Big City where I consumed many fine glasses of wine before arriving at an establishment of dancing where I moved on to rum and cavorted about on the dance floor very sexily and not-at-all drunkenly so as to be sure not to draw attention to the fact that I was unaccustomed to such beverage-mixing and late-night physical activity…

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I followed this 24 hours later with an evening of drinking in the presence of small children. This is crucial to your pre-Christmas training regime. The key to success when being hammered around young children, is to remember that whilst you picture a warm, festive scene where the adults sip wine while the children make darling decorations and devise cute shows of amateur dramatics, the reality will be you gulping wine incredibly quickly so as to ease the experience of attempting adult conversation whilst being eavesdropped by an audience from Hitler Youth.

You will swear and they will reprimand. You will slag off your in-laws and they will repeat it (and repeat it again on Christmas Day to said in-laws). You will watch their adorable little show which they have practised for a whole minute and a half and be forced to abide by their incredibly controlling audience rules: SIT THERE and CROSS YOUR LEGS and CLAP NOW and STOP SMILING and WAKE UP MUMMY WE NEED TO SING LITTLE DONKEY AGAIN…

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My only option now is to attack all my commitments at once. That’s why I’m writing this at 8pm, in the midst of a training session (sherry, now wine) whilst attending to eldest’s flu symptoms and preparing youngest’s costume for tomorrow’s Christmas assembly.

Standards may slip a smidge during this most wonderful time of the year…

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