Countdown to Christmas

Your cut-out-and-keep menopause advent calendar. (Check with a non menopausal friend before using scissors. Online users may need to use the printer).

Countdown to Christmas

Your cut-out-and-keep menopause advent calendar. (Check with a non menopausal friend before using scissors).

December 1: Announce you will not be sending Christmas cards this year because of you don't want more trees to die because of your profligate habits. Instead you will be donating money to the Save the Rainforests (real reason, can't be bothered). Issue edict that everyone will be given spending vouchers for Christmas thus saving on wrapping paper and journeys into town to change presents. Moreover, this will be a chocolate free Christmas.

December 2: Reveal you won't be cooking a monster turkey rammed full of sage, onion and chestnut stuffing this year because there are people starving. When he says it looks as if he's going to be one of them, fix him with a cold glare and threaten withdrawal of seasonal privileges.

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December 3: Receive Christmas card from papergirl/boy and put it on the mantelpiece with the one you got from Uncle Fred in New Zealand three weeks ago.

December 4: Watch a schmaltzy movie (Wonderful Life; Meet Me in St Louis; Miracle on 34th Street) and become sentimental, yearning for an old-fashioned Christmas. Make your partner return the artificial tree to the attic, insisting on a real one this year.

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December 5: Notice the supermarket is down to its last 8,000 rolls of extra-wide turkey foil and buy three packs. When he challenges you, explain that it doesn't matter that you're not having a turkey, the foil will be useful in any event.

December 6: Buy a tin of Cadbury's Roses for Christmas. Begin the 2009 Christmas list writing campaign making a list of food for Christmas Day, a list for Boxing Day, a list of general household items, a list timings, plus a present delivery route map.

December 7: Make a pact with partner that you will spend no more than �15 on one another and remember you've already bought something for �25. When your attempt to renegotiate terms is unsuccessful, wrap the offending present and give it to him today and say you hope he's satisfied.

December 8: While looking for the three crackers left over from last year, you find the Advent candle you bought at a National Trust property in July 2005 and spend the entire evening burning off the first eight days.

December 9: Wake up to the smell of candle wax - you forgot to blow out the Advent candle and it's down to December 22.

December 10: Buy the Christmas editions of the television magazines and declare there's nothing on the telly so he can forget having a new HD flatscreen TV as a "shared" Christmas present.

December 11: Listen to three teenage schoolboy carol singers with breaking voices sing We Wish You a Merry Christmas in key unknown to musical science. Give them �1 to go away.

December 12: Decide you will be sending Christmas cards after all and throw a tantrum because you want them all in the post tomorrow. Demand to know when penguins, polar bears and pigs suddenly became Christmassy.

December 13: Decide you'll just top up the gift vouchers with a small present "so they've got something to unwrap".

December 14: Only one plain chocolate toffee left in the Roses tin. You don't really like those but eat it any-way - after all, you did say it would be a chocolate-free Christmas.

December 15: Realise it's the last day to put in your food order at the supermarket and decide to have one of everything including an organic bronze turkey (which, it turns out, is not a turkey with a suntan).

December 16: There isn't a raspberry jelly left in Christendom - the sherry trifle is in jeopardy.

December 17: Go to the garden centre to buy a tree. Look for a healthy one - you don't want a repeat of 1987 when all the needles fell off on December 21 - and one that smells nice - not like the "what's that terrible smell" incident in 1994 when the tree was banished outside because it smelled like gangrenous flesh.

December 18: There are only six and a half shopping days until Christmas. You try and remember why we celebrate Christmas but end up all bitter and twisted because you didn't get Mary in the school nativity. For some reason, your primary did the complete Bible and you were Orpah - the sister-in-law of Ruth who ignores the good advice of Naomi and legs it back to the fleshpots of Moab .

December 19: Decorate the Christmas tree - have the usual row about what gets on and what gets left off. You don't want tinsel, he doesn't want the snowman. You win again. As you leave the room you suffer an excruciating pain in your foot - a pine needle has penetrated your sock and big toe. You demand to know whose bright, b****y idea it was to have a real tree.

December 20: Come to some executive decisions about pigs in blankets (no); home-made bread sauce (no); real custard (no, Birds); table linen choice (burgundy and gold on the 25th, silver and white on Boxing Day); bucks fizz for breakfast (not a chance); after lunch activities (Alka Seltzer and fall asleep in front of cataclysmic event in EastEnders).

December 21: Start to feel a bit Christmassy but manage to fight it off.

December 22: Put paperboy/girl's tip in envelope, place by front door, ready to pounce when the paper comes through the letter box. Place milkman's tip in envelope, roll up and insert in milk bottle. Trust the honesty of passers by not to nick it... after all it's the season of goodwill.

December 24: You've opened the wrong window, you fool. But thank goodness for that because the giblets are still languishing up the turkey's bottom.

December 23: Drive past a number of homes illuminated by enough Christmas lights and decorations to suck the electricity from 90 per cent of the homes in East Anglia. Suffer a slight nose bleed and partial loss of sight from glare.

Real December 24: Well, you're not going to have time to open this one, not with mince pies and sausage rolls to make, giblets to cook (add onion, carrot, bouquet garni, simmer for 8 hrs on a low heat and then throw away), turkey to stuff, table to set, etc... just as well you opened this one yesterday.

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