When the rush has died down and it’s time to make a deep and permanent crater in the sofa with your enormous Christmas arse, a certain smug festive fastidiousness sets in. You’ve spent the whole year doing what other people tell you to do, and now you want everything exactly the way you like it. Anything else just won’t cut it.
People get very defensive about the kind of Christmas they want, and will fight to the death to have their sprouts roasted and not boiled (or no sprouts at all), the right colour Quality Street (Roses = filth!) and of course, the correct programmes on the TV. In fact, we are the fussiest of all about that.
Personally, at this time of year, my fussiest, most indulgent thoughts turn not to the Baby Jesus, but to Nigella (Nigella: At My Table, BBC2). She is all I want for Christmas; the beatific holy madonna of nice kitchens and lardy foodstuffs. She must be a divine being, because you only need to use her first name these days. This is how religions begin.
Obviously, I am much more likely to grill some potato waffles than make caper butter in a tiny copper pan. There’s no way I’m going to the effort of making a voluptuous Italian feast on a Tuesday night, or any night really, as I live quite near a Dominos. And the idea of looking like Nigella has certainly been abandoned long ago, along with ideas about being a rock star or the first female leader of the UN.
Nigella must be a divine being, because you only need to use her first name these days. This is how religions begin.
But yet she persists, through all her personal trials, in being gorgeous, posh and having a better kitchen than anyone will ever have; making breathtaking pavlovas or eating some kind of Turkish coddled egg thing in her tropical garden (it is never raining or cold, even though the fairy light-strewn kitchen island hints at festive indulgence). She rises above all of us, even when she’s scarfing down a fried brie sandwich in a cupboard at 4am. Although TV Nigella is but a cipher, and her kitchen no doubt a carefully concocted studio mirage, she is a goddess and has certainly never farted on a bus.
In my eyes, her show has become synonymous with Christmas and that fussy wussy snuggly hygge feeling we have when everything is just right. The book tie-in always helps, landing with a thwack under many an aspirational middle-aged woman’s Christmas tree. OK, so I once incorrectly made her broccomole dip and nearly poisoned my parents, and as this is a family magazine, we won’t go into what it looked like when I attempted to fashion her Italian chocolate salami.
But even so, Nigella is the angel on top of my artificial Douglas fir from B&M, and I dotingly gaze upon her. While eating a bag of tangy cheese Doritos in my underwear.