Lynne Mortimer’s Countdown to Christmas - Why do we even need cranberry with everything?

Do we need cranberry with our turkey Wellington?

Do we need cranberry with our turkey Wellington? - Credit: PA

Hands up if you’re heartily sick of Christmas TV commercials. I could kick that cartoon rabbit.

It can’t just be me, surely?

Increasingly, Christmas brings out my inner “bah humbug”.

Top of my list of unnecessary Christmas ingredients is Cranberry. Cranberry sauce with turkey; fine. But cranberry topped pork pie, cranberry jelly, cranberry jam, cranberry chutney, cranberry hair gel… okay, I made the hair gel up.

As for crackers. What is the point of a tiny photo frame and how many pairs of nail clippers does one person need? And why are crackers all so unyieldingly cardboard? They used to be made with crepe paper; the novelties were rubbish and the jokes were harvested from original cave paintings. The hats were too big or too small and half the crackers didn’t snap. But they were fun and didn’t cost much. Nowadays, we are inexorably drawn to the “luxury crackers”. Not much fun and expensive.

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Anyhow, once the spending is over (6pm Christmas Eve and you’ve still forgotten to get extra milk) you can ring fence Christmas Day as a day of peace and joy… yeah, right.

Here are my top 10 tips for a hassle free Christmas Day:

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• Don’t have a row with anyone. Bite your tongue or insert three pieces of Turkish Delight in your mouth

•Don’t do a starter. There’s plenty to eat without faffing about with prawns

• Warm the plates

• Don’t insert any coins into the Christmas pudding unless you want to spend four hours in A&E with gran afer she swallows a silver threepenny bit

• Plan dinner for 1.30; expect to eat between 2 and 2.30pm

• Don’t introduce a new board game unless you are fully conversant with the rules

• Don’t play any games until everyone has had at least two glasses of wine

• Set the table the night before

• Have at least a two-hour gap between washing up after lunch and preparing tea

•Don’t ask if you can have the receipts for your presents until Boxing Day

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