Top tips for a Poncetastic Christmas
A bit like mince pies in the shops before Halloween, Mumsnetter FellatioNelson's Poncetastic Christmas thread has become something of an annual tradition.
Here's her explanation: "If you, like me, actually want to make your life a misery by hand-crafting your cards, finding a huge bucket for Nigella's turkey in brine, pickling pears, shrivelling oranges in a low oven for those rustic au naturel decorations, dragging half a holly bush back from the woods, and just generally being a smug annoying jobsworth ponce, join me."
So without further ado, here are the ultimate top five steps to a truly Poncetastic Christmas:
1. The Christmas larder
You should aim to make your own Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, and some festive chutneys, preserves or sweetmeats.
Put your Poncetastic Pickles in kilner jars, label them using your best 'arty' handwriting, and tie them with gingham ribbon. Display them on the shelf above your Aga. (What do you mean you don't have an Aga?) Make a bottle of Poncestastic Festive alcohol, such as Blackberry vodka.
2. The tree
It simply must be real. Gimmicky black trees or upside-down trees are in very poor taste, as are blue lights and tinsel. Endorsed Poncetastic themes are Rustic Scandinavian, Classic Victoriana, Vintage Heirlooms, Jewels of the Orient or Whimsical Homemade.
If your room does not coordinate well with any of these themes, then it may be necessary to redecorate. If you are Kirsty Allsopp or Sarah Raven, the Whimsical Homemade tree will be absolutely charming. If you are Kelly Hoppen, then it might cause you to become a bit twitchy and anxious, in which case I recommend going for the dual-tree approach - one for you, in the sitting room, and one for the children, in another room where no-one important will see it.
All baubles must be glass. All lights must be white. They may twinkle and they may fade, but they must NEVER flash.
3. External decorations
Your doorstep should feature two standard bay or box trees with soft white lights, plus a wreath of fresh foliage and berries on the door. It would help the cause enormously if your front door could be painted in Downpipe, or any one of the Sludge colours from Farrow and Ball.
If you see your neighbour trying to erect a 6ft inflatable Santa near your boundary, have him killed.
For country types, hang a brace of pheasant and a dead rabbit on your garden gate. It is not necessary to eat them, they are purely decorative, although you could make game pie for New Year if you wish.
4. The turkey, cheese board and vegetable
The Poncetastic way with a turkey is to brine it in a large bucket. Buy your turkey from your local Organic Norfolk Bronze turkey farm. Of course you may have a goose if you prefer - tres Poncestastique. Barely enough meat to feed a family of Borrowers, but never mind - Ponce Points aplenty. A frozen turkey crown from Morrisons or a turducken from Aldi are not acceptable.
After collecting your turkey, you should move on to your local fromagerie to pick up your cheese board, which will have been selected in advance with the help of the proprietor. You will, of course, have made some walnut biscuits to eat with the cheese.
You really should have thought ahead and grown the Christmas dinner vegetables yourself. After opening the presents and having a breakfast of champagne and smoked salmon blinis, slip on your Hunters, your vintage tweed jacket and a swishy corduroy skirt, and nip out to dig up the parsnips and pick the sprouts.
Have your smiling, rosy-cheeked children help you, by putting them into a dinky wooden trug. No, they definitely would not rather stay indoors scoffing Quality Street and watching telly. While you are outside, collect some scented winter blooms for a nosegay.
5. Christmas dinner
Listen to Carols from King's and sip sherry while you prepare lunch. The more sherry you have, the easier it will all seem.
Lay the table with a linen cloth, some candles and personalised place settings made from the vintage scrabble tiles, painstakingly sourced from jumble sales and boot fairs.
After lunch you will play charades, have a family sing-song, go for a long walk in a lovely cashmere scarf (you may need to borrow a Labrador) and then sit in front of a roaring fire sipping Blackberry vodka and teaching your charming children to play cards.
There will be no snoring or farting whilst slumped in front of Only Fools and Horses wearing a wonky paper hat.
And it's never too early to start thinking about New Year's Eve and which canapes you'll serve.