Claudia Winkleman: Take It From Me

'I might wrap stuff we already own to give my husband. And it's a half-eaten box of Weetabix for the children'
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The Independent Online

I know that people say that the herald angels are singing about the glory of the newborn king, but hark, I think they're actually chanting about the fact that ghastly Christmas is here again.

Now, I'm not going to waste this whole page by simply bashing Christmas. I quite like the sparkly lights and the pretend snowmen in the shop windows. Sure, I'm not anti chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and I love seeing my mum's face light up when she opens another box of Terry's All Gold (weird, it's all she needs and she's a happy girl), but the thing I can't bear is the organised people around me.

Friends who are cool - you know the type, they never have a holiday booked but somehow manage to be on a sun-lounger in Thailand after making just a couple of calls. They sleep late and use the word "vibe" and their SIM card is full of other hip people who think nothing of throwing on some footless tights and a beret.

Well, these people, these so called friends on whom I rely to be ramshackle and a bit dippy have all got it together this year. Over drinks last week (they'd made eggnog - you see my point?), someone said that they'd managed to buy four rolls of Sellotape for the price of two, and that they only had one more present to buy and then they were done.

Done? Done? Seriously, give me a break. I don't have a tree, I'm considering wrapping stuff we already own to give to my husband (I'm not sure he's ever really noticed the painting in the hall - I swear I could just tie a ribbon round it and he'd never know), and as for my children, it's a tangerine and a half-eaten box of Weetabix if they're lucky. (My son asked to write to Santa to ask for a train set, and I've already explained to him that the post will be late so there's really no point.)

The disorganised friends and I used to take the piss out of people who bought wrapping paper in July; cry with laughter when our parents asked us whether we still liked lavender bubble bath in September; and spend Christmas Eve running round Dickens & Jones manically stocking up on crackers and hideous striped scarves for uncles. Now, they've gone all grown- up, and I'm feeling a bit like Harry Enfield's Kevin.

"Yep, I've ordered the organic turkey from Waitrose, so I'm pretty much sorted," said Peter on Monday. Let me explain: Peter gets lost on the Tube, he usually forgets to do up the buttons on his shirt; and he can barely figure out what day it is, but he's already made and frozen the bread sauce. HELP.

Lucy, upon whom I can usually depend to be one step behind everyone else (this is not the only reason why I love her - she is also extremely good at karaoke and applying eyeliner after five vodkas), has really let me down. She went on Amazon and bought her whole family gifts in under an hour. She's also practised folding napkins into the shape of the baby Jesus to impress her new in-laws; and her iPod has a "Christmas playlist", which she sticks on while she and her husband get ready for work. They waltz around the bedroom sipping Fairtrade coffee while humming along to "Good King Wenceslas" sung by Dean Martin. Oh, and she proudly informed me that the holly is just fabulous this year, and looks simply marvellous wrapped a round a door handle.

I think I'm going to be sick. My house is a mess. The boiler only works between the hours of midnight and 4am, which means that I'm waking up the baby so that I can give her a bath in the middle of the night. The big order of LL Bean bags I made online (personalised totes for $20, genius) has gone to Austria by accident, and will be with me in the second week of February. And I've managed to lose the box of Christmas decorations that my husband has hung on the tree since he was four. Great, all going swimmingly, then.

I am so worried about being behind that I have become paralysed by it. There's a half-hearted present list somewhere in the bottom of my knicker drawer; and I have turned down the page on Nigella's Christmas-pudding recipe, but that's as far as I've got.

I know what you're thinking. Head to the high street; fix the boiler (and the fridge - I woke up this morning to be greeted by a carton of half-frozen milk); and get on with it. Instead, as I write this, I'm rocking from side to side and have developed a tic.

I'll tell you what I want for Christmas. And that's January.

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