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When I was a child I loved Christmas. I loved being with my family and for those few days, I experienced great joy. Now that I’m responsible for Christmas, I realise my enjoyment of Christmas is suppressed through anxiety and fear of spoiling the Christmas dinner! The culprit: Turkey.
As children, we have very little to worry about and Christmas is all about fun. That’s great and how it should be. Looking back, I had loads of fun while my Mum slaved over Christmas dinner. I ate it, said thanks, got up and continued playing with my toys. Oh how easy times were back then …… for me.
Looking back, my mum didn’t work. I do. And, my family are with me for around 4 days over the festive period and it’s exhausting!!
How can I enjoy Christmas like I did as a child?
I want to talk to my family, hear their news and have fun. I don’t want to stand in the kitchen and calculate the cooking time of a turkey while the cats circle me looking for a hand out.
In the background I can hear the hum of advice and “If I were you” statements.
Vegetables prepared, turkey in the oven, I spend the next umpteen hours worrying whether the turkey will be over or under cooked. Or, worse still, will the meat be dry? I’ve taken precautions to combat dryness, but hey, “ovens don’t cook as evenly as they once did”.
Next up, dress the table
Why can’t I just lay the table?
No, that’s not good enough, this is Christmas.
There must be centrepieces and crackers and sparkles and “oh dear me!” I turned on the top oven, not the main oven. “Errm, just to let you know we’ll be eating around 6pm….”
Then, one Christmas Eve everything changed
I went to pick up my turkey and in front of me was a Grandmother.
She asked the butcher to slice X kilos of cooked, sliced turkey. Straight off the breast.
I felt a moment of sadness thinking that she and her husband were creating an out of the bag Christmas dinner. But no, I heard her say that her whole family were coming for Christmas.
Curious I stepped closer and heard her say, “There’s no way I’m spending hours in the kitchen when I could be enjoying my grandchildren”.
She continued, “For years I slaved over these darned birds each Christmas.
I was so preoccupied with creating a Delia style master meal, I missed out watching my children play with their presents. I was never happy or relaxed because I spent more time in the kitchen than with my family.
When we sat down to eat, I’d grumble at them to slow down because I’d spent hours cooking!
This year I will serve perfectly cooked, buttery turkey breast. Yes it’s cooked by someone else but does that matter? The time I don’t spend cooking the turkey will be spent playing with my grandchildren.”
What does it matter if someone else cooks the turkey and you prepare the rest of the meal with love and grace? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have time to relax and enjoy your family.
In my business I’m always looking for tasks that don’t have to be done by me and which can be outsourced.
For the last few years I’ve outsourced turkey cooking and every year I’m grateful.