In a way, this has been out first ‘real’ Christmas with the children.
It obviously wasn’t our first Christmas as parents (you can read about our Christmases past here) but it was the first Christmas we’ve spent at home, the first I’ve had to cook Christmas dinner, and the first when they have both been able to really appreciate it and buy into the magic of Father Christmas.
It was delightful. The big one, so excited about the prospect of a visit from Santa, came into our bedroom blearily clutching her stocking at 12.15 and the small one woke up at 6.30 (praises be) screaming because he couldn’t locate the stocking at the end of his bed and thought Father Christmas hadn’t been.
I won’t lie, it was touch and go for a while that he might not make the nice list this year so I can appreciate his concern.
There have been several things that I’ve learned and I thought I’d share them with you. Not sure what else I’m meant to do in this weird time between Christmas and New Year to be honest.
1) You will always have bought too many presents even if you’re sure you haven’t.
Despite my best intentions of having a low-key Christmas and avoid present-opening fatigue, there were multiple times whilst wrapping when I thought ‘Where and when did I even get that?!’.
2) There will be at least one gift you completely forget exists or can’t remember where you put it.
Relax! At least when it shows up you’ll be prepared for Easter.
3) It doesn’t matter what you get them…
Their sibling’s (or even your) presents are WAY more interesting.
4) There will be at least one thing not labelled and you will not remember what is in it at all.
You’ll probably have to unwrap a corner and then remember and go ‘aaaaaaah’ as soon as you do.
5) In fact once wrapped you instantly forget what’s in anything.
This leads to many sibling squabbles when one opens an exciting Playmobil house whilst the other unwraps a rather less exciting new pair of socks.
If your kids can’t read, for God’s sake write on them what’s in there.
6) There will be TOO MUCH FOOD.
The kids will have eaten too much chocolate and won’t want to eat anything anyway (mine ate cheese on toast for Christmas dinner. FML) and there is no way a family of four including two kids will even make a dent in a packet of parsnips or sprouts. After all it’s a day of celebration and happiness, not punishment. They will go mouldy in the fridge LIKE THEY DESERVE TO.
7) Cooking Christmas dinner is code for drinking in the kitchen whilst scrolling on your phone.
Yea family time is precious, but someone has to keep an eye on that oven to make sure it doesn’t… run away or something.
8) If you don’t get at least one over-excited tantrum you’re not doing it right.
Early wake ups + new toys + sugar = deadly cocktail called ‘crazy child’.
9) Kids are more savvy than you given them credit for.
If your stocking fillers are wrapped in the same paper as the presents for Nanny and Grandad, the four year old will notice this.
Father Christmas shops at Sainsbury’s, evidently.
10) Giving a two year old a lightsaber is stupid.
Fun, but stupid.
11) The cardboard, oh, the cardboard.
I don’t over-exaggerate when I say that once the great unwrapping (see this post) has occurred you will be left with enough cardboard to build yourself a second house.
Our wonderful local council have decided that in their infinite wisdom, they will not be collecting cardboard between 4th December and 15th January (I KNOW RIGHT?) and there are no recycling centres that take it in the borough. The regular bins aren’t being collected either. It’s just so much fun around here right now.
12) It will be OK on the day.
It doesn’t matter how much you screw up the food, how many must-have presents you didn’t manage to buy, whether there are tears on the day or how unprepared you are, your children will think it’s absolutely magical.