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Friday, 2 September 2016

Merry sodding Christmas: Booking Christmas in September

Merry sodding Christmas: Trying to book tickets to see Santa at Brookside Garden Centre

I imagine many of you think that a) you've clicked on an old link or b) I've gone mad.

Whilst certainly the latter is nearer to the truth, I am aware that it is only September, and the beginning bit of it at that. I am however in the full festive spirit because on Wednesday I bought tickets to see Father Christmas.

Now this is not just any Father Christmas. This is Brookside Garden Centre. This is Grotto of the freaking YEAR. It's superb, like every childhood dream you had come true, complete with the real Father Christmas and a decent present.

We've been twice so far; once when the big one was a little one, she had her first winter cold and could not have given fewer shits...

...And last year when she was two and just a little bit dubious about the whole thing, and the baby was just under six months old and mainly cried his way through the whole thing.
Glorious memory making there.

This year, she is turning the magical age of three.

She knows what Christmas is, she knows there are presents involved, she will be in her element. 'We have to go back!' we decided 'She will have a magical Christmas or we will die trying'. So I found out when the tickets went on sale and set a reminder on my phone. When it went off at 6.30pm we were in the midst of getting the children to bed, and smugly thinking I was getting away with slacking a bit, I decamped to the front room, switched on my laptop and retrieved my credit card ready for the onslaught.

I did NOT pour myself a glass of wine, as we had chosen this week to put into action our 'no drinking in the week' plan. It didn't include Monday because that was a bank holiday and there was already a bottle open from the weekend, so basically we were planning on four days without a post-bedtime glass of wine. Easy right?

I logged on to Facebook. The local mum's network were poised and ready, waiting for 7pm. Some were very angry that others had taken steps to remind others, increasing the competition. It made me feel slightly saner for refreshing the page like I was trying to buy Beyonce tickets.

They're on sale! They're on sale! QUICK!

But wait, I can't click - this bloody website - nothing is working - I can't F*CKING CLICK - I'll refresh... page not available - oh for CRAP'S SAKE.

I flick over to Facebook. It's not just me. The mum's network is becoming increasingly unhinged; mums across Kent are spilling over with rage and reaching for the gin. It is still August, and grown women are being brought to tears by Father Christmas. Something is not right about this.

Meanwhile, I can hear the small one screaming his little fluffy head off upstairs. He's teething, so it has not been a good day for naps and now he's overtired and acting like a little toddler jerk. My sympathy for daddy is escalating, but I still feel he has the better deal.

I carry on, clicking, refreshing, swearing. Wait - I have managed to put one child ticket into the basket! Four times. But no one else. Maybe I can send him on his own? At this rate I'll be sectioned by Christmas anyway.

Hold on - Someone in the mum's group has a booking confirmation! 

And I was just about to give up. It is possible! Maybe it's quicker using the iPad? I can't get it on my mobile... That's three devices trying to score tickets. And NONE of them working. I swear it used to be easier when you had to book Glastonbury tickets on the phone. The child is still fighting sleep like a crazed demon so I can't summon my husband to provide his devices too.
Better carry on clicking. And clicking. And refreshing. This would be so much easier with a glass of wine. I might just smash the computer and be done with it.

It's sodding Bake Off in ten minutes. Surely I'm not going to miss the start?!

I can hear the small one upstairs, still screaming. Daddy is probably feeling about as harassed as me. Nothing is going well tonight.

At ten-to-Bake-Off, Daddy comes downstairs with the still-screaming child. He's been medicated, he's been rocked, he's just being a pain in the arse. A quick cuddle with mummy and he goes quiet but Daddy is pissed off and takes him out for a drive in order to force sleep. It's not often we have to resort to this level.

I'm hungry. The dog is pissed off as he hasn't been walked. I still have no tickets.

I'll just give it ten more minutes...

I have more tickets in the basket! OK, we are all in there multiple times, it's going to cost hundreds at this rate... but it looks like the slot is reserved. Can't quit now... Ah, crap. I've missed the first ten minutes of Bake Off. That's the best bit! I can't miss Sue's innuendos. I'll have to wait until 9 and watch it on iPlayer.

And so it continued.

By the time my husband arrived home with a sleeping baby, I had got the tickets. One per person, bought and paid for. An hour and a half of my life I'd never get back, but I sodding did it. Will my kids be happy? Will they be grateful? Of course they bloody won't.

Fortuitous timing meant that it was also my Secret Summer Santa present opening at 9pm*; my Secret Santa got me a Mum's Emergency kit. With wine. I drank the wine.
Before and after: It qualified as an emergency for sure.

#Brookside16 NEVER FORGET

*You mean you don't do this too? I'd explain but, you know, word count... and it seems more fun not to.

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  1. There is no way that wine could not be consumed after an evening like that!

  2. Ah, Christmas. Not long now! I used to be Scrooge and not be so into the whole thing, but now I got A I think I'll be more cheerful... hopefully.

  3. Oh you have to love Christmas-NOT! After last year I am on strike. Ive booked us all to go away on holiday instead. I am now feeling a little guilty about this and I am hoping that Father Christmas will put in an appearance where we are going!! Well done on getting the tickets and holding onto your sanity....just ;-)

  4. Wow - I'm impressed with your preparedness! x

  5. Ha this reminds me of the time I had to get festival tickets for a local children's summer festival! I fear I will be going through this in a few weeks as I try to get tickets to Harrods Grotto! Wish me luck!!

  6. What on earth?! Hahaha. Roundstone was never like this, much more civilised..

  7. It's like the great olympics ticket ballot of 2012 all over again! Where I got precisely nothing and from that day hence I've referred to Seb Coe as the C word that rhymes with Punt. Merry Christmas!

  8. Will Father Christmas have another new outfit this year? That's the real excitement right there!! Glad you got tickets anyway - top mumming!!

  9. The things we do for Christmas and kids hey and hey probably don't even give a shit!! #chucklemums

  10. The things we do for Christmas and kids hey and hey probably don't even give a shit!! #chucklemums

  11. I'm a big fan of the whole thing now that I've got a wee one, but September is WAAAAY too early to have to think about getting into the Christmas spirit. I didn't take the Popple to see Santa last year because I figured she wouldn't get it at 6 months old - I'm still not sure she'll get it at 18 months, so maybe next year. Famous last words. #chucklemums

  12. This basically depicts what happens when I try and do shopping online. I lose my shit, smoke about 9 fags and go and lay in a darkened room with a cold flannel on my head. #chucklemums

  13. I felt your pain the whole way through that Fran! The funny thing is, I saw the mums on SMN stressing over grottos while I was basking in the heat of Spain and I thought to myself: wtf? Closely followed by: thank the fuck I'm past this stage! It has to be done though and you are right - your kids probably won't give two shits. I hope Father Christmas is extra jolly for you. Alison x #chucklemums

  14. This year I am literally torn between "couldn't give a shit about Christmas because of wedding" and "fuck she's going to know all about Christmas this year it needs to be THE MOST MAGICAL DAZZLING CHRISTMAS EVER". Love this post!!! #KCACOLS

    1. Except it's not KCACOLS, is it. It's #chucklemums. I need sleep and wine.

  15. The stress of Christmas has begun already? This does remind me of a friend who when staying the weekend with me, was trying to buy Glastonbury tickets. It was frantic so I can feel your pain! Hopefully the day you get to visit will be far less stressful! #chucklemums

  16. How can it be so competitive at the beginning of September?! I don't think Beyonce has anything on Father Christmas. Still at least you have yours now and you can sit back with your wine and be smug when the rest of us are scrabbling around for tickets in November! #Chucklemums

  17. The number of times I've tried to book events, days out, etc for the kids to sulk and moan the entire time... makes you wonder why you bother ;) xx

  18. Ahhhh I refuse to do anything vaguely Christmish (yes, I am making up words) until December 23rd ;-) #chucklemums

  19. Bloody Christmas. My son is 4 now and still pulls underwhelmed/terrified faces when he's forced into posing with Santa. Fun times #chuckemums

  20. Oh my gawd that sounds like a frigging nightmare! Does this Santa hand out litres of gin to the parents or something? i'm assuming this as a) he clearly broke the Internet and b) from your beaming smile in the first photo (let's face it, who is the ticket really for, Fran? ��) Merry Christmas. #chucklemums

  21. Ahhh...this is so stressful! I break into cold sweat at the thought of booking tickets online for a popular event. Re-reading your post did make me laugh again because the things we will do for our kids! Thanks for hosting #chucklemums

  22. Wow I'm impressed by your endeavours to get tickets - and by your endeavours to not drink in the week, something Mother would not even dare attempt #chucklemums

  23. This makes me seriously consider ordering my daughter's American Girl Doll right now...just in case it goes on back order and ruins her life...and mine.


  24. We've all been there, though how you survived it sans alcohol is beyond me. Well done that woman *solemn clapping* #chucklemums

  25. Golly! I knew becoming a parent meant I was going to up my effort for Christmas, but I'm not sure I have it in me to be that committed. Glad you got them. Oh, and you woz robbed at the awards btw. #Chucklemums

  26. It's never too early to plan for Christmas (we also have the added fun of the Child's birthday the week before). We have a out panto tickets and the Husband is in charge of sorting out tickets to some CBeebies show that's happening (he won't do it and then I'll shout at him. The Child won't give a rat's arse). #chucklemums

  27. HANG ON A MINUTE....Secret Summer Santa? You can't just leave us hanging like that! WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT? #chucklemums

  28. As above, I need to know about the secret summer santa please. I also enjoy how you and Mr WhingeWine look like you're having a blast, are you sure your level of commitment isn't because you two are looking forward to it?


    I'm signed into a different Google account and it simply won't have it that I'm accidentalhipstermum. (It's Jenny by the way)

  29. Ooh I've heard great things about Brookside! Only just moved to TW though so completely missed the boat. Will be joining the hordes on my laptop next year....

  30. I love Secret Santa. It's such a nice British custom, even if sometimes, you get shitty presents! LOL #chucklemums


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