i Editor's Letter: Christmas is different


Click to follow
The Independent Online


I write my Saturday letter at home on my “day off”.

This week, I am sitting in the living room, taking in the comforting and evocative sights and smells of our magnificent Christmas tree.

Yes, I was over-ruled. It went up earlier than normal, and I had no say in the matter. After years of an absolute insistence on white-only lighting, the colours of my childhood have returned with a twinkle. Of course, I love it.

Although I am refusing to register how much it cost. Sometimes, it’s great just to go with the flow. Especially when one usually does the over-ruling. A simple pleasure in my life is when someone else makes a decision. With two teenage daughters, I am getting very used to it. That said, it took me a long time to realise, in my twenties, that even the smartest, most independent-minded and feminist of women don’t want a man to dither and ruminate and share their plans for a date – they just want us to decide and get on with it. Christmas is different.

For many mothers and other women in relationships, it is not always possible to go with the flow. If they don’t get it going, there is no “flow”– not in every household, perhaps, but many male readers know that’s true. To be blunt, that’s how most households function best at this time of the year. Someone must take charge, or there’s chaos.

Come to think of it, there’s usually chaos anyway. Men, easily manipulated, can of course be conned into thinking we are in charge. To prove my point, I must dash – I have to drive round all the supermarkets looking for the best discounts on wine. I might buy a tin of Quality Street too. That’s Christmas sorted, then!

By Stefano Hatfield.