This issue we catch up with Esther Walker, wife to Giles Coren and mother of two, she explains how its all about her family when it comes to enjoying Christmas.
Boys ruined Christmas for me.
From the age of 16onwards Christmas was no longer just about chain-gobbling Quality Street in front of Back to the Future or fretting over the dent in my pocket money that three sisters’ Christmas presents made. It was about having a boyfriend or not having a boyfriend.
Having a boyfriend meant high-stake gift-exchanges, last-minute trysts, pained phone calls when separated from each other by our rotten families. Not having a boyfriend meant being all gloomy because everyone else was paired off and kissing under the mistletoe while I was just sat at home with my parents and sisters, eating Quality Street. And the rest of the time I was usually between boyfriends, having just been dumped or in love with some awful two-timing rat.
In my mid 20s Christmas got really bad. A painfully drawn-out office crush who had strung me along for 18 months without ever actually “doing” anything (he had a girlfriend) finally revealed to me at the office Christmas party that we would never be together. Christmas that year was officially cancelled as far as I was concerned.
But then quite soon afterwards I met and married my husband, Giles, and order was restored. Christmas was no longer a stupid schmaltz-fest, riddled with possibly relationship-ending quandaries. There was me, there was my husband, there was our house, and our Christmas tree. Perfect. It was so much more pure, somehow, so much more like the cosy Christmases of my childhood than any Christmas of recent years. It helps that I married a fellow fireside-loving homebody.
And then we had kids. Kitty (three) and Sam (one) have freed me to enjoy Christmas in an unfettered way that I hadn’t since before my stupid hormones kicked in.
I go, unashamedly, completely over the top. We have a Christmas tree that touches the ceiling and enormous stockings generously stuffed. We have an afternoon Christmas party for kids, with a kids entertainer and a friend who turns up dressed as Father Christmas with a sack of gifts for all the children. Last year I even dressed Sam up as an elf…