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The first peacetime Christmas for six years will probably be the most difficult housewives have yet had to face. Uncertainty about "gas hours," scarcity of all the good things that make up a traditional Christmas dinner, and two long holiday periods to be catered for mean that the housewife, who has borne so many heavy burdens recently, has a heavier one than usual to shoulder.

As gas rationing will still be in force over Christmas and New Year, careful planning of meals to fit in with the restrictions is necessary. I The closihg of most shops on Christ I mas Day, Boxing Day.' and New i Year's Day further emphasises the

I need for long-range catering, es I pecially as these holidays follow al- most immediately upon a weekend. There will be no bread deliveries on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year's Day, and butchers and grocers will close on the same days, but milk deliveries will be unbroken. Banks will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day.

Supplies of poultry and ham are no better than last year; in fact, there are fewer hams, and if orders have not been placed already for I poultry the housewife can have little I hope of obtaining a bird.

One of the bright sides to Christ- mas, however, is that a number of the traditional "trimmings," includ- ing dried fruits and some almonds, and sprigs of holly, are available.


A request to the Metropolitan Gas Co that hours during which gas may be used for cooking on Christmas Day be made optional, so that Christmas dinner could be cooked either at midday or in the evening, has been made by Mrs John Down- ing, president, on behalf of the Housewives' Association.

Mrs Downing said yesterday that this Christmas found housewives less well catered for than ever before, mainly because of gas rationing and the shortage of pig meats. There would be great difficulty in keeping fresh meats over the holidays, especially in houses not possessing refrigeration. Some butchers in- tended closing from Saturday until Thursday, but the association hoped that all butchers would remain open on Christmas Eve.