Congratulations...You made it through Christmas

Congratulations. You made it through Christmas. You were a triumph of festive frivolity, a domestic goddess of all things culinary, you jingled, you jangled, regaled visitors with your sparkling wit and tinkling laughter and had Santa himself questioning his prospects for early retirement, writes Lindsay Woods.

You glided into suitably-lit rooms, the personification of tranquillity and elegance itself, as your family positioned themselves around the selected board game and you angled a conspiratory wink in the direction of your husband whilst your six-year-old daughter placed the letters in the relevant squares to spell, ‘Formaldehyde’.

A smattering of applause as you all merrily laughed at her chutzpah before settling back into the folds of the sofa to munch on some delicate nibbles taunting you from their gilded platter.

No, wait. That was an episode on the Food Channel featuring that raven-haired temptressand her entirely covetable brand of Christmas shenanigans.

Mine concluded with yelling at my husband to replace the batteries in that obnoxious elephant who spits forth paper butterflies and which saw the early demise of the tree, a lump of fur from the end of the cat’s tail and the tray of ham sandwiches due to the exertions of my offspring flinging nets, with careless abandon, to catch said winged insects.

All reserve stores of energy depleted, I sank into our equally exhausted sofa, covered with a fine dusting of crumbs as a result of a solid 24 hours of eating; to spend some quality time with the dregs of the box of cheese and onion crisps, the TV guide and a moment of reflection for what the year that was coming to a close, had brought.

2017, was undoubtedly, the year that I learned to say, ‘Yes’. Like most endeavours, I need to warm up first before I become liberal with my willingness to concur.

Without descending into ‘Motivational quote generator Instagram bot’, it really was a revelation.

I said, ‘Yes’ to projects, to people, to less elastic properties in my jeans (I said ‘less’, not ‘devoid entirely of’), to mastering the washing machine until it went to washing machine heaven and my husband purchased a veritable Fembot to take its place (we are still at odds, truth be told; the washing machine and I).

Undoubtedly, the biggest ‘Yes’ was in relation to launching myself into, hook, line and with jeans comprising only of 2% elastane, the new type of networking which women are now favouring.

It has afforded me not only opportunities professionally but also personally. It is most heartily important, as a woman, to surround yourself with women.

When I thought back to how my mother ‘networked’ in the eighties, as a housewife, in a then rural part of Ireland, it dawned on me that this was not an entirely new concept. The aesthetic may have changed but the core values have remained the same.

My mother hosted Tupperware parties where, along with her friend, they would introduce the latest advances in how best to house those leftovers to achieve maximum freshness.

Groups of women would arrive to our home, bedecked in their best homage to the cast of Knots Landing and trailing behind them, wafts of watery-eye-inducing fragrances like, ‘Shalimar’.

What my mother and her friend earned from selling their wares was duly spent that very evening on vodka and soda water, when they hotfooted it to the pub at the top of the cross in the village… trailing behind them their own particular favourited scent, ‘Opium’.

So, whilst we may have moved on from ‘plastic’ parties, the sentiment and way in which women effectively network remains the same. An hour or two, in like-minded company with the promise of a beverage towards the end of the day.

I don’t believe in making resolutions for the coming year. I tend to subscribe to the adage of just mucking along and if it doesn’t feel right, altering my course until it does.

Putting unreasonable lists and demands upon myself feels counter-productive to any possible aspiration I may have.

I blunder on into 2018 blindly, a bit foolishly and slightly unsteady on my feet but hopeful.

Hopeful that I will get to spend even more time in the company of like-minded people, that I will master the Fembot lurking in my utility room, that the universe will reveal to me its grand plan for my being and that the world in general will be a better place.

If all else fails, I’m spritzing on some ‘Opium’ and heading to the pub at the top cross for a suitable beverage. Happy New Year.

Aida Austin is away


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