Uncrate the plates
If your good china is in a dark dungeon somewhere, it’s time to get it out. If you need to dust off your champagne flutes and get the spiders out of the punch bowl, do so. If your silver is tarnished, set your lackeys (or children) to polishing it. And iron your tablecloth (unless it’s plastic).
Wendy just rang. In the two days since they set sail from Brisbane, half the passengers have come down with viral gastroenteritis and the other half with food poisoning and there’s a cyclone heading for Vanuatu. (Mind you, cyclones are nearly as devious as Gertruda, so who knows where it will actually land?)
“It was terrible!” Wendy said. “You’d walk around another corner and there would be another person spewing. And we didn’t dare eat anything from the buffet so we dined on the chocolates Ben had bought Getruda for Christmas and we’ve been hungry, utterly miserable and holed up in our cabins in the rain.”
So they disembarked at Noumea (because none of them were willing to risk gastro mid-ocean) and they’re flying home and they’ll be here tomorrow.
Which means that they’ll be here for Christmas! Hooray! It really is the season of joy! But I’m going to have to go shopping tomorrow to get enough food (what looked like an abundance of potatoes on Saturday is an embarrassing dearth today) and suddenly I don’t have enough crackers!
I rang Matthew. “My table seats fourteen,” I said. “We can’t have seven people in other people’s laps and I don’t have time to work it out because I have to completely redraft the menu.”
“Leave it to me,” he said. “They’re predicting perfect weather for Christmas so we’ll carry your dining table out onto the deck and add my trestle table and that will give us… fourteen minus two plus six … eighteen. Hmm, we’ll need two trestle tables.”
“Chairs!” I said. “And my tablecloth isn’t big enough! And if it’s going to be sunny, won’t we need umbrellas?”
“I’ll sort it,” he said. “Save your fretting for the turkey.”
The turkey! The little free-range bird I ordered from the butcher and Hannah’s small turkey breast roast won’t be enough! I did see a few at the supermarket when I got my extra ham yesterday (not on the bone: it’s a gypsy ham in plastic, which will Have to Do) so I’ll go back this afternoon and hope I’m not too late.
 There’s a limit to how far you can stretch a turkey: they’re not elastic.