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Christmas without the washing up

There’s very little I like more than to spend Christmas with my family. I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about it, getting excited and taking phone calls from my mother every five minutes.

She’s what I like to call a planner. So what should be a simple occasion – lunch for six people – becomes a month long military operation.

The discussions actually started in November. The big question was where shall we eat? An odd question really considering we’ve eaten at her and dad’s house every Christmas since I was born.

From there we moved on to who is coming, what time they are coming, what should those people who are coming bring with them, what we should eat for lunch, what time we should eat the lunch, should we open the presents before or after we eat, what should we eat in the evening… the list goes on.

I pointed out that, other than the presents, it’ll be just like the dozen or so Sundays each year that we get together for lunch. She didn’t agree.

So the build up has continued, the calls keep coming and my dad and I roll our eyes gently as mum winds herself up into a Christmas frenzy.

I think she enjoys it but it’s hard to tell. There’s no way of knowing though really as it’s what we’ve always done.

But next year I’m going to do an experiment. I’m going to call mum in mid November, just before she sees a Christmas advert on television and begins winding herself up, and tell her not to worry.

I’m going to tell her it’s all taken care of and all she has to do is turn up where I tell her to and when I tell her to.

Of course it’s perfectly possible she’ll miss running around organising everything for the big day. But just in case she finds it tedious and would rather put her feet up I’m going to take care of everything and see what happens.

I say take care of everything… I don’t mean it. In fact I’m going to let other people take care of everything and join my mum so we can both put our feet up. Perhaps in a Jacuzzi, while someone else does the washing up!

The only question for me will be where?

Well actually even though it’s a year away I’ve narrowed it down to three.

I don’t want to go take the family too far from home so two of them are in the UK. Here are my potentials… where would you take your family?

The Ampersand Hotel

The Ampersand Hotel – South Kensington, London, England

This hotel, which is a 19th century townhouse, clearly takes Christmas seriously. They have created a special Christmas afternoon tea with traditional treats like mince pies, mulled wine, jelly, turkey and cranberry gougères. I like all these things so I’m tempted to book us in for it. Along with the Christmas lunch and Christmas cocktails.



Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf and Spa – Luton, England

To the countryside now and not just any old countryside. Here we have a former haunt of movie stars and royals. This place is just as serious about December 25. And December 24 and December 26 for that matter. They have three days of food and frolics planned. Why have one Christmas lunch when you can have three?

Le Grand Bellevue 3

Le Grand Bellevue – Gstaad, Switzerland

My curve ball for 2015 might be Le Grand Bellevue in Gstaad. It’ll take a little longer to get there of course but when we do there’s almost certainly going to be snow. And Christmas and snow belong together. When I read this hotel has a 35m tree that they decorate with 40,000 lights I knew there were some Christmas lovers working there. And how better to earn the goose and salmon Christmas lunch than a couple of hours on the slopes in the morning?

Which one shall I choose?

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