Picture the scene. It’s Christmas Eve Eve, my family and I are gathered around the kitchen table chatting about the next three days. Oh the crumpets we’ll toast, the mince pies we’ll make, Christmas specials we’ll watch and Playstation games I’ll trounce my brother at. It goes without saying that throughout this merriment, there’ll be hot water a’plenty, a cosy Aga to hug and WiFi for when conversing with one’s nearest and dearest becomes unbearable. Then BAM! Lights out. Just as we’re tucking in to the first of many long, jovial feasts. At first it’s all rather novel, dinner by candlelight, what fun! So we all get fairly drunk and stumble off to bed, clutching hot water bottles to keep toasty in a house growing colder by the second. We awake the next morn (sorry, this tale telling thing is making me come over all olde worlde) expecting to fire up the Espresso maker and all have a good LOL over the previous evening’s drama. But the power does not return. At all. For the next four days and nights. Christmas by candlelight may sound dead romantic in a Tudor banquet, back-to-basics kind of way but pretty soon you’ll be tearing your unbrushed, greasy hair out and climbing trees in an attempt to get phone signal. In case any of you ever find yourselves in this dire predicament, here are a few pointers to help your and your family get out in one piece.
1) Do avoid physical exertion of any sort. And I don’t mean jumping jacks or jogging, that goes without saying. I’m talking heavy lifting (Christmas cake, turkeys, excessively large stacks of crumpets…), high speed present unwrapping, competitive board games, really anything that risks breaking out in a sweat. Unless you’re impervious to ice water, showering is a no go so by day four your family home runs the risk of smelling like a men’s locker room, before the invention of Lynx. Urgh.
2) Don’t attempt to remedy the situation by getting blind drunk. It will seem like a hilarious and ingenious idea at first but when your grandmother’s prizing your Sophia Webster stilettos from your feet so your father can drag you up the very dark stairs, muttering even more darkly about how you’re “not a bloody teenager anymore” the whole thing just gets embarrassing. I speak from experience here.
3) Do keep everyone entertained with a rousing rendition of All I Want For Christmas complete with Mariah style warbling. Some may complain at first but trust me, they love it really.
4) Don’t be the first person to get up in the morning. If you are, then you’ll get stuck doing the mountains of washing up it was “too dark” to do after supper. Remember, no electricity means no dishwasher… Quelle horror!
5) Do embrace hats indoors. Firstly, it will be cold enough to make this more of a necessity than a slightly wanky fashion statement. Secondly, no amount of dry shampoo and backcombing can disguise days worth of turkey grease, chocolate and glitter quite like a good old bobble hat.
6) Do GO TO TOWN on the Christmas grub, chocolates, mince pies and anything else you can lay your hands on. No one can see if you unbutton your J Brands or slip into something elasticated… Result.
7) Do not, under any circumstances use the words “it’s like Christmas didn’t even happen” in reference to your inability to Instagram every single second of it. The fact this is totally true won’t stop you getting mocked. Certain family members may even threaten to throw your beloved iPhone out of a window. #justsaying
8) Do still get your gladrags on. Ok, so no one will be able to see your fancy frock but wearing the same, stained pyjamas for days on end will depress you even more than the aforementioned lack of Instagram. Applying make up is a whole different story. Attempting vampy berry lipstick in the dark won’t end well, trust me.
9) If, by some miracle, you manage to cook something vaguely resembling Christmas Dinner do not grab a handful of brussels sprouts and chestnuts straight out of the pan and swallow it whole. Doing so will burn your entire oesophagus rendering those roast potatoes you’d been so looking forward to a painful ordeal. Obviously this also applies if you have light, but at least in a blackout you can pass greed/stupidity off as darkness induced confusion.
10) Do… Enjoy it. As much as I’ve whinged and moaned about the whole thing to anyone who’ll listen since escaping back to London it was actually pretty awesome being totally disconnected from the world for a few days of eating, drinking and chilling en famille. Admittedly it would have been better with heat, light and the ability to clean oneself but hey, you can’t have everything.
Love Ella. X