By Mandy Nelson
Those last few days of work before the much-anticipated annual break in routine are upon us and we are sliding into Christmas here at G&A. We are a little unsure whether that’s uphill or downhill – but it’s definitely a slide. There are work deadlines to meet, there is seasonal emotional labour and, on top of all that, serial socialising is swamping the calendar – which can be translated as ‘there is wine crying out to be drunk’.
It’s that week in the year when the least-organised of you might find yourselves not only hung over but also pressured to finish up all sorts of projects. Good luck with that. Avoid losing the plot by following our advice! It’s taken us more than two decades to work out our priorities, but we think we now have it sussed. Folks, this is what we do and don’t do to melt into Christmas appearing cool, calm and collected.
If you rank these quite highly on the short-term priority list, you get to come back to a job or a business in the new year. We say gird the loins and deal with or delegate your deadlines. Chores like doing laundry, buying socks and cooking can go by the wayside to ensure you fit work deadlines in. Why cook when personal research confirms you can successfully survive on free canapés over this season for at least four days in a row, supplemented only by strong coffee. And wine, of course. As for the laundry and socks, remember it’s supposed to be summer. Wear sandals. Work might just be who you really are – so get your deadlines sorted.
2) Revisiting the liquor store.
The wealthy among you can skip this because you can afford to catch up at any classy little bar at a moment’s notice and fork out for the more expensive way of getting a Christmas buzz on. No prep needed. The rest of you need to programme yourselves to pass the grog shop on autopilot every time you leave the house, and return with a bottle or two. That way you are always ready to receive friends, family and freeloaders. Don’t worry. You’ll get them back by dropping in unannounced any time over the holidays. It’s what Kiwis do.
3) Buying great stuff for your kids, and socks.
Babies and toddlers know nothing of Christmas so they are really cheap. Forget about them altogether. They’ll happily play with the wrapping paper from someone else’s gift anyway. Order something online that gets delivered to your office for your significant other and the older kids in your life. And for Grandma, because she is statistically likely to be a widow and no other bugger will remember. Everyone else gets socks.
4) Hosting Christmas Dinner.
Oh, you have aged parents still alive who now expect you to take on this role? You poor thing. Double-check their capabilities. Any parents still coupled, under the age of 85 and not actually in a wheelchair, have a moral and cultural obligation to feed you and your kids on Christmas Day. What else have they got to do? If desperate, book Christmas dinner at a hotel and take them too. They might even offer to pay.
5) Keeping pot plants alive.
Look here, you can order these from Amazon and use up all those empty wine bottles to water your plants: http://www.amazon.com/Plant-Nanny-6051-Count-Bottle/dp/B00BQTOBHM
If you are on a budget, create little water reservoirs with used two-litre plastic soda bottles. Cut them off at the base and pierce small holes in the cap. Bury them cap down to about a third of their length beside your plants without disturbing the roots too much, fill them with water and they’ll stay moist for at least a week. (Pause here briefly to reflect on what a truly awesome word ‘moist’ is.) Move the containers into the shade too. These bottles won’t fit in smaller containers so you’ll need to set up a wicking system for baby plants. We’ve Googled that for you, right here: http://makezine.com/2009/07/17/how_to_create_a_simple_housepl/
Follow these simple priorities and, like us, you are good to go. May your holiday break be completely fabulous and your return to routine next year be greeted by the lushest of verdant pot plants and a clean calendar.