Editor’s comment Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas from the editor of Cotswold Life, Mike Lowe

Merry Christmas from the editor of Cotswold Life, Mike Lowe - Credit: Archant

Cotswold Life’s editor, Mike Lowe, shows us that with a degree of forward planning – and a mountain of AA batteries – your Christmas celebrations should proceed without a hitch.

AND so we come to that special time of year again; a time for families, a time for enjoying the more indulgent pleasures of life. But we cannot just leave these things to chance. A degree of forward planning and the observance of some simple rules will make sure that your Christmas runs as smoothly as possible. So here’s some useful advice drawn from my own experience:

• Plan your present purchases carefully. You don’t want to end up at the 24-hour garage at 8pm on Christmas Eve panic-buying jump leads and tree-shaped air fresheners.

• An artistic approach to gift-wrapping can often disguise the wretchedness of the contents within. A crumpled bit of ‘Happy Birthday!’ wrapping paper retrieved from the back of a drawer and bound with insulating tape will not cut the mustard.

• Father Christmas only requires a small glass of sherry to be left on the fireplace, not an empty bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream. Similarly, don’t drink port for breakfast; best stick to champagne.

• Buy batteries, lots of them, in all different sizes. And then buy some more. Nothing dampens the festive atmosphere quite like a 10-year-old having a tantrum because her Furby won’t function. Similarly, read all instructions for Japanese electrical devices before too much drink is taken. If that Playstation won’t allow little Nigel to slaughter innocent citizens on the streets of Los Angeles, it will be your fault, and your fault alone.

• Wear sturdy shoes at all times in the house. As all men know, standing on a piece of Lego induces a degree of pain many times more severe than mere childbirth.

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• It may arise that the turkey purchased for the feast won’t actually fit in the oven. Your wife will then be very angry and again, this will be your fault, even though you had nothing to do with buying either the turkey or the oven. A few judicious slaps with a croquet mallet when no-one is looking should resolve the problem.

• It is the law that you must wear any festive knitwear bought for you throughout the duration of Christmas dinner, even if it is stifling hot.

• It is also the law that hosts must eat from the flimsy wallpapering table secreted at the end of the dining table proper and hidden beneath a fancy tablecloth. Hosts must also sit on the kitchen stool and the packing case from the garage called into use because of a shortage of chairs.

• At some point during the meal, Grandad will find it necessary to take out his dentures to remove a recalcitrant currant. Make it clear to your children in advance that this is not, repeat not, to be filmed on a smartphone and posted on YouTube.

• You may feel obliged to at least offer to assist with the washing up. I have found that dropping a small piece of china early on in the process may well see you excused from further duty.

• Advocaat has no use-by date. That cobwebbed yellow bottle may have been lurking at the back of the cocktail cabinet since the Relief of Mafeking, but Aunt Mabel isn’t to know that.

• Finally, no-one has ever said: “You know, Christmas was really spoiled for me this year because we didn’t buy any Brazil nuts.”.

So there we go. I hope you find the above useful and that you enjoy this special Christmas issue of Cotswold Life. Our December issue will be along shortly.