Now there are 364 days to plan ahead

Christmas Day is in the bag once again, and for many people that's a relief.

Well, it’s all over. The carefully selected wrapping paper has been stuffed in garbage bags, the perfect turkey is chopped up into five different sizes of Tupperware containers and you are reading the instructions for new electronic gadgets for the third time.

Was everybody happy with their gifts this year? I remember the husband who bought himself an

iPhone, his son an iPad, his daughter some iTunes but screwed up when he bought his wife an iRon.

Well, that’s what the week after Christmas is for. Taking back the sweater and getting the right size or exchanging the coffee maker, all the while marvelling that everything you bought last week is now 60 per cent off.

Did you get some quiet time before the guests arrived? I’ve never figured out why we have a Christmas breakfast and a Christmas lunch on the day we are having the biggest meal of the year.

How did the Christmas dinner turn out? Did you have everyone at your house or did you get invited out? I have been invited out for the past few years and I always do the “Aw shucks, you don’t have to send home a bunch of leftovers.” But in reality, I will survive on them for the next two days.

Even if I am invited out, I do a small turkey for myself on Christmas Eve and let it cook slowly overnight. Awaking to that wonderful aroma of turkey and stuffing sets the scene for my Christmas day, but bringing home some gravy, vegetables and whatever that stuff is with melted cheese on top, just finishes off the leftover meals.

How did the visiting go? Did everyone behave or did the usual suspects replay the scenes of many Christmas’ past and create some awkward moments? Awkward as they are, it wouldn’t be Christmas without them. After all, we can choose our friends but we’re stuck with our family.

I love the story about the five-year-old girl who sat staring across the Christmas table at her uncle visiting for the holidays. After a few minutes, he asked what she was staring at.

“I’m waiting to see you drink like a fish. My Mom says you will before the night is over.”

Ah yes, little pitchers have big ears.

It is said that two types of family members show up for a family dinner. Those that help with the dishes and those that sit and talk about their operations. The hostess is usually polite enough not refuse help tidying up but in reality, having her mother-in-law continually putting things in the wrong drawers can be a stressful end to an already long day.

How about after dinner? Did someone sit down at the piano or pick up the guitar and try to lead a sing-a-long? Maybe an energetic family member searched the hall closet and found some board games or the dice and the dining room table was cleared for action.

This is the point in the evening when most of the menfolk doze off or at least pretend they have dozed off if they have not already found some kind of sports on the TV. Often, a year-old dart tournament on the TV is preferable to arguing over how many spaces you moved your game piece.

However it turned out, it’s in the bag. If it didn’t work, you have 364 days to plan the next one. At least that’s what McGregor says.

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