Are you ready?
Christmas is fast approaching which means that a school holiday is fast approaching which means parents everywhere are bracing themselves. Not only that but this is the most complicated of the school holidays, especially if you small children, because you have to lie to them constantly about Father Christmas. “Of course he’s real! I don’t know why there are presents under the tree already and why Granny has written her name on them. Of course it all comes from Father Christmas!”
Forever helpful, I have put together a list of things you need to remember or do in order to be ready for the Christmas holiday.
Then stash booze so that it doesn’t all get drunk. If you have a penchant for Baileys and you don’t want to share it there is no harm keeping it in your wardrobe as long as the kids can’t reach it
Buy festive TV guide magazine
I can’t recommend highly enough planning your TV viewing over the Christmas period, if for no reason other than you don’t want to end up watching kids shit for the whole holiday. Or sport! ARRRGGHHHH
A clever mummy can record a whole years worth of exciting TV if she’s savvy and gets in early. Mark up in the magazine all of the films and Christmas specials you would like to watch and then program your Tivo box of whatever you have so that it will record everything automatically. Et voila! Everytime you want to watch something fab you’ll have a whole list of things recorded and in July, when you have bored children and you need to do something important (like go to the toilet) you will be chuffed you did this.
Throw out the toys they don’t play with
Before the kids break up from school go through their stuff and throw away everything they don’t play with. Do it whilst they’re not around because you know that they’ll gain a sudden love of that old MacDonalds toy from February if you confront them with the possibility that it might leave the house. If you think they’ll notice then put the toys in the loft and wait. Then, when you’re sure they haven’t missed the toys, you can discreetly move the toys out of the house.
Sort out the garden
I don’t mean you have to full on Alan Titchmarsh it, but if you haven’t been out there for a while get it in a state where you can throw the kids out into it for a bit and they won’t come back missing limbs. Christmas is a time for being in the house with visitors but kids don’t accommodate this part of the festive season so well, instead going stir crazy and running around like loonies. The garden is a good place to send them when they reach that stage. Upon depositing mad kids in the garden pour yourself a glass of wine to help you recover!
Buy a spare present
There is always one friend who buys you a present and swears they do so every year but you haven’t so always have a spare. Even if it’s just your favourite tipple. Then if nobody has claimed it by Boxing Day it’s all yours baby!
I have a can of Febreeze in every room all year round. I have windy children and what comes out of them smells like cabbage sandwiches. At Christmas time the methane quota increases dramatically in the house and quite frankly I don’t want my house to stink of cabbage sandwiches during the festive season. Febreeze people. Febreeze!
Lower your standards
When kids get involved in Christmas nothing is sacred. Your Christmas tree may start off looking nice but it will be fiddled with. Stuff will be moved. As more of your friends get kids the Christmas cards you receive will feature their child’s drawing rather than beautiful Christmas landscapes. Before you know it your house is looking a bit like a toddler playgroup has been in. If you try to throw a Christmas party you have to start at 3pm and it’s all over by 6:30pm to accommodate baby bedtimes. No-one wears anything posh. The only label anyone now wears to a party is ‘machine washable’.
If you let all this bother you then you will ruin your own Christmas. Yes – you are ruining it. You’re doing it to yourself.
So lower your standards. Infact drop them, and instead embrace the standards of your kids. They don’t care if the tree decorations look like a football team formation grid, they just want to have fun putting stuff on the tree. They don’t care if you spend a fortune on them, they just care that you gave them a gift and they’ll be even more chuffed if you take the time to sit down and play with them afterwards. They love that a tonne of visitors turn up but they want to be a part of that too. What the heck – buy them a plastic wine glass and serve them apple juice with a bit of sparkling water so that they can join in the toast.
But most of all kids enjoy the magic of the season, and that magic comes from love. You may think that the gift under the tree shows your child you love them, but in reality it’s your kindness and time that they really want. Don’t forget to give that too else you’re entirely missing the point of Christmas. People will be calling you Scrooge. Or talking about you behind your back! “That woman – she’s awful. Doesn’t let her kids have any fun. Got a Christmas Cracker rammed right up her ar…. ” well you get the idea. Don’t be that woman. Or man! Drink as much alcohol as is necessary to chill the heck out and HAVE SOME FUN!!!
Have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.
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SARAH CANTRILL is a woman on a mission to inspire every young child to become a reader for pleasure. She is the Artistic Director & Founder of STORY STORKS, a social enterprise that delivers interactive story workshops to early years children and their grown ups, that help kids to fall in love with stories and develop their early language skills meaning that they have an easier time of learning to read when the time is right. Infact 85% of the kids who come through STORY STORKS are right where they should be or ahead in terms of progression through the reading book scheme once they get to school and the ones who are behind are trying hard because they know that it’s worth it – that to read is to unlock a whole world of fun and adventure and learning and imagination and they might take a bit longer to get there but they’re determined that get there they will.