Christmas is a magical time of year for parents. If by magical you mean exactly the same as the rest of the year but with fairy lights and fake snow everywhere.
Which I don’t.
Before children the biggest Yuletide problem is: Can I get away with a sparkly top, glittery make up and gold shoes?
But once you’re a parent the stress mounts. It starts with trying to coax a crying baby into a reindeer onesie for a Christmas card you’ll never find time to send, and eventually you find yourself driving two hours out of town to source wrapping paper your children have never laid eyes on to maintain the illusion that Santa exists.
Christmas officially starts after Halloween with the traditional act of pretending to text Father Christmas and add your children to the naughty list every time they get on your nerves.
Then there’s the stress of present buying, which involves asking your children what they would like for Christmas and then using the answer they give in October to predict what they will actually want by the time Christmas day arrives.
For example: If my son asks for a Batman Lego set this probably means he expects to find Captain Barnacles from The Octonauts in his stocking. Or a dog. Or a Hatchimal. Or a Peppa Pig Dancing Tea Set (which of course he totally made up but I still Googled it because I’m an idiot).
Once purchased, presents from Santa must be hidden and stay hidden. This means Mummy and Daddy staying awake at night in shifts for the two months leading up to the big day, as though they’re living through the zombie apocalypse in The Walking Dead. Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!
Pre-children Christmas Eve involves returning to the place you were born to get drunk down the local pub with people you mistakenly snogged at school, who now look really, really old. I mean really old.
Christmas Eve as a parent features a different kind of existential crisis. It’s probably the longest, most stressful day of the year. It starts at 5am when you are woken by a small child asking if it’s bedtime yet? This question is repeated at ten minute intervals throughout the day until you find yourself sobbing while eating a whole chocolate orange as though it were an apple.
Every household has their own traditions surrounding Christmas Eve. Do you leave a mince pie or sandwich for Santa? In the kitchen or next to the chimney? What about for Rudolph – a carrot or a bag of oats and glitter ‘made’ at playgroup? Does your night time visitor eat all the food or just take a bite? Which is more believable?
Maybe set aside a date in the diary to argue these things out with your partner and draw up some kind of signed agreement. Preferably before you have children together.
The good news is that Christmas Eve is the one night of the year you can put the children to bed early, but only after explaining how a strange man is going to break into the house while they’re fast asleep to eat a mince pie and leave presents in a way that will not scare the bejeezus out of everyone.
Good luck with that!
Once the children are in bed the fun can really start.
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Nothing was stirring not even a mouse.
That’s because both Mummy and Daddy are in the garage swearing and wanting to kill each other while trying to put together Princess TippyTwinkle’s Funtastic Fairy Castle. Assembling said castle requires a degree in spatial engineering, whatever screwdriver it is you don’t own and a divorce lawyer.
Once all gifts are assembled and wrapped all that’s left to do is set your alarm for the middle of the night so you can leave the presents in the children’s bedroom. A simple task made extremely difficult by the amount of pressure surrounding it; try not to think about how much your children’s lives will be ruined if they discover Father Christmas isn’t real.
Presents successfully delivered you can climb back into bed safe in the knowledge that you’ve only got the small matter of actual Christmas Day to get through… and what could possibly be stressful about that?
via: (Good Housekeeping UK)