In case you hadn’t realised, Christmas is just around the corner.
Go back five years and I probably wouldn’t even have had the tree up by now, let alone be panicking about having presents wrapped. Actually they’d still be at the Amazon depot waiting for me to pull my finger out and order them.
So yes, I know it’s coming and I’m unusually prepared; it’s just that I’m finding it a little hard to get swept up in festive spirit. A bit of a Ma-Humbug. Or a Bah-Mumbug. I don’t know.
Case in point: I’ve not taken a single photograph of our (real, sigh) tree, beautifully lit up with fairy lights and decorated in a tasteful and understated way (hahaha) or of the kids looking arty and festive for Instagram which I believe is some kind of blogger sin. They have matching Christmas jumpers and yet there is NO EVIDENCE of this anywhere on the internet. Baby Jesus wept.
Rather than sing carols by firelight in an attempt to fill myself with festive cheer, I’m going to give you my top ten reasons why Christmas is a big glittery pain in the arse.
Misery loves company, after all!
1) Advent calendars
Teaching kids to be ungrateful and demanding as soon as they wake up. Also inspires the ‘Is it Christmas yet?’ conversation we’ve had every day since the big one’s birthday in mid-November.
The advent calendars of my youth had pictures, perhaps a cheeky chocolate if you were lucky. The advent calendars now are ridiculous; everything from Lego to whiskey, from candles to earrings (who really needs 24 pairs of earrings?!), from Play Doh to wine.
Actually, I could probably live with a wine advent calendar as long as I didn’t have to do it first thing in the morning.
2) Elves on shelves, Christmas Eve boxes and other brand-new made up “traditions”
Things we didn’t have when we were kids in the 80s or 90s (back when Christmas was actually magical) are now extra reasons for parents to wake up at 3am in a sweat. Damn that elf.
3) Putting the tree up
Firstly it means moving the furniture about (and then hoovering underneath said furniture. Ugh) and secondly, even though I put the lights and decorations away properly every year, it still takes bloody ages to untangle that hot mess of lights, and there are bits of tree all over the floor.
The kids want to help and let’s face it, they aren’t so good at it, which means I have to stay at the back and not look and either a) live with it or b) re-do it all when they’re in bed.
Don’t even get me started on glitter. Actually if I didn’t have enough already, this would deserve its own point. I don’t even know where it comes from and it seems impossible to get rid of. It’ll still be hanging around next Christmas.
4) Christmas ‘holiday’ time
That lovely period where preschool and toddler groups are off, and everywhere is rammed.
Even with Doug off work it would seem foolish to waste it relaxing when we have two bedrooms, a toilet and a hallway to paint, six doors to varnish and a six foot fish tank that needs a bloody good clean out.
5) Buying presents
Not for the kids; they’re young, their wants are few and they’re ridiculously easy to please. I have managed to implant in their little heads exactly what I want them to want for Christmas like some evil mind-controlling genius. I know this will change but at the moment, it’s fairly easy.
I’m talking buying for adults who have their own disposable incomes and buy whatever they want or need as they decide they want or need it, so you end up trawling Amazon for basically anything they won’t immediately put in the cupboard and forget about or regift to you next year.
6) Wrapping presents
In the list of things I do not want to do with my evening, wrapping presents is up there with lying in the dark waiting for the small one to fall asleep for two hours. Luckily for me I get to do both. Some people say they find it calming and therapeutic. Those people need a glass of wine and Netflix.
7) The great unwrapping
We have learned through bitter experience not to attempt unwrapping presents without a set of power tools and a box full of batteries handy.
There is no earthly reason that you should need a screwdriver to release a doll from its plastic prison unless said doll happens to be possessed; in which case you probably shouldn’t give it to your four year old as a gift.
I’m not a fan and – controversial, I know – I don’t understand the hype; it’s basically a big, dry chicken. When I do Christmas this year (to this day I’ve not cooked a Christmas dinner #winner) I have no idea what it will be, but it won’t be turkey. I don’t even think my oven is big enough which is my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
I’m getting old, as my body keeps handily reminding me. Christmas used to be a time of indulgence; the new year you could sort it all out. But as it happens, everything you traditionally stuff down your cakehole at Christmas; chocolate, cream, cheese and indeed cake, makes me heartburny and yet it’s so delicious I can’t help myself. Such a kick in the teeth.
10) Taking the tree and decorations down
At least it makes the living room look bigger but I swear it takes twice the time it took to get the bloody things up and you have to do it properly or you’ll truly regret it come December next year.
If you think I’m being an unnecessary mardy arse, I’ll leave you with this delight, and the thought that someone, somewhere, thought this was a good idea.
Someone. somewhere was paid to sing this.
And then my husband bought it.