IT IS the best time of the year. . .
Call me Public Enemy (No1) if you like, but I say Don’t Believe The Hype.
It’s Christmas Eve and while I’m a self-confessed Christmas geek, I feel defeated by the stress, doom and unrelenting gloom we must endure this year.
Some of you will be working today. Others will be forced to tolerate family members you have avoided for most of the year.
And of course many people will be alone. It’s such a contradictory time.
The pressure at this time of year is palpable.
As a perfectionist, most of the burden on my shoulders comes from me.
I think months in advance and think about every little detail that I hope my family will notice and appreciate.
As I approach the last week, I’m not only clumsy, I’m also tired and feeling unenthusiastic.
I start to question everything – what I want to achieve and what really matters.
So I was delighted to hear that despite my military service, Christine McGuinness plans to serve her family chicken nuggets and fries.
I like her approach and I wonder if she’s not right. Maybe she got it right and I’m the fool.
I know I’m not the only one who feels the negativity has doubled this year.
You can have the most luxurious crackers on your table, the fanciest tree, the most elaborate spreads, the cutest decorations and the most brilliant gifts.
Maybe you even washed your hair for the big day. But why? What is it really about?
This year feels different for other reasons too, as three out of four kids are now out of the nest and I still have my ex-husband at the table despite falling in love with someone else.
He will be there for the kids, as he has been for the past four years since we broke up, to give them a sense of continuity.
I’m not sure how well this will work for me or for how long.
I mean, there’s a reason to divorce someone — and it’s not about sharing high days and holidays together.
Many will struggle to share children over Christmas.
It’s so much more poignant at a time when everyone is meant to play happy families.
The strain of us all being forced to be together will no doubt lead to a stampede on divorce lawyers in early January. It is sad but true.
We know that not everyone will have a family to spend Christmas with.
Some don’t even have friends, a decent meal – let alone a roof over their heads.
Others will feel the loss of loved ones. And yet the rest of us are driven by a mad quest for perfection. For what?
For the record, members of my clan have a habit of dying around Christmas time.
It’s like it’s become a kind of extended family tradition over the decades.
I lost three grandfathers and my father during these intense times of supposed celebration.
This might explain some of my overwhelming trepidation as the season approaches.
With Christmas comes the family. And the family does not always bring good news of great joy, but it brings with it problems, tension and atmosphere.
I fall into the same trap every year of believing everything is going to be great.
THANK YOU BEAUTIFUL FACES
I think if I work even harder to get things right, if I go the extra mile, if I’m dying of exhaustion this year, maybe, just maybe, it will be greeted with appreciation, great atmosphere and good humour.
That never works. I toil and wear myself out to within an inch of my sanity.
But still, there will be an argument or joke between family members that will come across as wrong.
Or a fight over who sits where on the sofa.
An argument about something that happened earlier in the year that absolutely needs to be brought up on Christmas Day.
Manners and etiquette fly out the window.
Peace and goodwill for all men are trampled upon and the big day ends like a chapter of Lord Of The Flies, with everyone going out for themselves.
All in all, I know I’m lucky to have enough food to feed the five thousand.
Having a roof over your head. To have a warm house full of loved ones.
But we always seem to want what we can’t have.
Those who are alone and lonely want company.
And those of us who are forced to face a sea of ungrateful faces filled with attitude or apathy secretly yearn for space, quiet and a plate of chicken nuggets.
Plastic isn’t fantastic, ladies
WHEN I once suggested that Katie Price was addicted to plastic surgery, her fans took their shots at me.
But Katie has now gone to Belgium for her SIXTEENTH boob job.
Do all those naïve followers who insisted on defending her to the max still believe she’s not enslaved to plastic surgery?
Of course it’s nice to be right, but Katie smacks of desperation and (as her ex-husband Peter Andre would say) madness.
It’s pure madness and not without risks.
Word on the street is that she wants the biggest bazukas in the country.
Why? Does she plan to view her exhibition with attributes like a modern Madame Tussauds?
I am amazed. I recognize that she is a woman in her own right, but as a mother you have to wonder how that is affecting her children — especially her daughters, who are witnessing their mother’s relentless pursuit of a different body.
In another part of La-La Land, Geordie Shore’s Charlotte Crosby posted pictures of herself looking battered and bruised after her lip fillers wore off.
Obviously, the prospect of continuing to walk around like having two Michelin tires in your mouth no longer appeals.
And I don’t know how it ever was. The standard look for young women these days is puffy lips, half a ton of cheek fillers, hair extensions, false nails and lashes, and a breast augmentation that invariably looks like two pots attached to their breasts.
A lot of these girls are still in their 20s so can’t say they fight aging – something I struggle with on a daily basis.
But why are they going this route at all?
I mean, what did Charlotte see when she looked in the mirror at her swollen, enlarged lips?
They must have made eating and speaking difficult.
She’s such a pretty young girl who decided to play with her face.
Katie was a sweet looking girl before turning into a hot plastic surgery mess.
It’s great that people have the ability to change things about their appearance that may have plagued them their entire lives.
But just because you can doesn’t mean you should, hey, Simon Cowell?
Discomfort when changing bills
THE Gender Recognition Reform Bill is passed in Scotland and extended to 16 and 17 year olds.
It is not a historic day for equality.
As a woman, I don’t feel safe knowing that it’s easier for any man to legally change his gender and eliminate the need for a psychiatric diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
Self-identification now means that those applying for a gender reassignment operation no longer have to wait two years, but can get it done in three months.
I have no wish to marginalize the 1% of the population who are trans.
And I have no personal experience of how unbearable it must be for those who feel they were born of the wrong sex.
But my opinion doesn’t make me a transphobe.
Just as you want to protect your rights, I want to protect my opinion, my feelings and my fears.
Same-sex spaces are sacred but will no longer be so in Scotland.
I realize that not all trans women are violent.
But I also fully realize that changing your gender will now be easier than getting a passport.
It’s a dark day on a very slippery slope.
Beth and Lionesses tamed the critics
As we near the end of a most peculiar year, nothing could be more fitting than to see Beth Mead being voted Sportswoman of the Year this week.
Not only did she score six goals at Euro 2022, she was also awarded the Golden Boot and named Player of the Tournament.
To make matters worse, she is the first female soccer player to win SPOTY.
Of course, no woman is an island.
Their performances were collectively credited and we watched as the lionesses roared to success in the final over Germany.
The team also won Team of the Year and Sarina Wiegman won Coach of the Year.
It’s a great tribute to a team of girls who rocked the awards ceremony with all the humble, self-deprecating and relaxed way they approached the tournament.
This team completely changed our attitude towards women’s football.
As a young girl, I often watched women play.
I played football myself in Sweden but had to give up when I landed on this coast because there really wasn’t a big community for girls football there.
The Lionesses changed everything.
This summer they took the game to dizzying heights. It was fast-paced and interesting.
They played hungrily and skillfully, pursuing relentlessly.
They showed the men how to bring football home and I know for a fact that I will follow women’s football with renewed enthusiasm.
Jill Scott, taking the “I’m A Celebrity” crown, warmed the cockles of my cynical heart.
These girls. These women. They are all queens. Everyone greets the lionesses.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6981926/ulrika-jonsson-ex-christmas-day/ My ex will be at my Christmas table but he’s in love with someone else – I’m not sure he’ll be back next year