Before you all think I’m a complete Ebenezer, let me start by saying that I adore Christmas. I love spending time with family, seeing the kids faces as they get excited by the tree, the presents, the advent calendars and what not. I love the fact that it’s an excuse for more drinking, eating and partying with friends. BUT there is no doubt about it, this season is, quite frankly stressful! So here’s my list as to why this season sends me slightly crackers:
1. School Notes. With the eldest at primary school and youngest at pre-school, there’s always a steady stream of messages and requests to deal with. But this week has seen a new record – I’ve had over 12 messages including such things as buying tickets for the school play, costumes for the pre-school nativity, oranges for Christingle, Christmas party, requests for cakes for the Christmas bazaar, dates and times for Christmas term break up and more randomly a note about a pen knife being brought into school. Can we stop now? I need a new diary or calendar for the school messages alone.
2. Arts and Crafts. Everywhere I turn someone is making something fantastic. Whether it’s festive biscuits, amazing new Christmas decorations or gingerbread houses, everyone seems to be creating something and usually involving their kids in the process. I start to feel the pressure creep in. I too, should be doing something or organising things for the school holidays. But as some of you know, this isn’t my particular forte. I have this lovely idea of the girls and I making gorgeous Christmas decorations to hang on our tree. Instead the reality of me doing arts and crafts is this:
Where as this kind of thing sends me into a cold sweat:
3. Nights Out. Back in September and October, it seemed like a good idea to say yes to every invitation and Christmas event going, after all December is miles away. It occurred to me a couple of weeks ago that in saying yes to everyone I was out FIVE weekends on the trot. A few years ago this would have been no problem. Call me an old fart, but for now, my ideal Saturday night is watching Strictly Come Dancing with the girls, a glass of red in hand and a curry in the oven.
4. Feeling Old. This leads me nicely on to point 4. All these nights out take their toll. I’m in my 40s now and with two small kids waking up early and causing havoc it’s not the best way to recover the next morning. I’m tired. I got dressed up to go out last night and my daughter told me I looked lovely but then proceeded to ask what the lines were on my forehead. That sums it up really.
5. Elf on The Shelf. Am I the only person out there who doesn’t get this? As if we haven’t got enough to do without carefully manipulating a doll into a new position every night. And why must I see a daily updates on Facebook from a dozen people about where Eric / Fred / Arthur / Christophe is hiding that night? Do I really care?
6. Madness at The Shops. Yes, I know we all have to buy Christmas presents, but shopping becomes a bit ridiculous. I do most of mine online now, but a trip into town last week saw queues for the car park at 10am and hundreds of people lining up to pay at Primark.
7. Expense. I dare not add up the amount of money I’ve spent on buying presents and going out. It is ridiculous. As December starts to plod on, I begin to start panic buying. I must get the “best” or “right” present for people and start going a bit crazy. It really isn’t necessary to buy yet ANOTHER stocking filler, but yet I do – just in case I don’t have enough!
8. Travel. Ok so this one is my husband’s biggest moan. We spend a good chunk of the Christmas period on the road, visiting family and friends. And whilst we want to see everyone, it does feel like by the time 2nd of January is upon us, we need a break to recover from it. Next year, we are hoping to stay put and get people over to us.
9. Decorations with Kids. I had this romantic notion of decorating the tree and the house this year with the kids now that they’re a little bit older. We would all be happy, singing and dancing to Christmas songs and carols whilst hanging bits and pieces up around the house. The reality was that I spent most of the time refereeing fights over baubles and having to carefully undo the kids’ handiwork on the tree which somehow had every item from The Christmas Box literally thrown at it. I love having a real Christmas tree and making it look pretty, but remind me next year to do it once the kids have gone to bed and I can do it on my own with a glass of something in hand.
There you have it! Sorry for the moan people. Reading this list, I think most of my bah-humbug moments come from the amount of pressure I put on myself. Pressure to spend, pressure to make arts and crafts, pressure to go out and socialise with every single person I may have met since I was 15. Surely there’s a lesson in here somewhere. If only I would listen and just relax a bit!
Do you have any gripes about the festive season ? Let me know if there’s any I’ve missed.