Friday, November 13, 2009

Sssh! It's only 6 weeks 'til Christmas

Much as I want to bury my head in the sand and deny it, the evidence is there for all to see.
The decorations are going up in the shops. The jingly jangly exceptionally annoying music is starting to blast out from instore speakers. The queue to get into Smyths car park is not for the faint hearted and the television is filled with a thousand and one ads about making this Christmas extra special.
Bah humbug - I guess I’m going to have to try and get in the spirit of the festive season then.
The thing is, in my head it is still June or July. My brain refuses to acknowledge that we are actually in mid-November and that the big date with Santa is hurtling ever closer.
Joseph repeatedly asks me how many days are left to Christmas, or how long it will be til we go and see Santa in the Richmond Centre and i wave him away. Sure, we have ages yet. There is no way we are on a six week countdown. No way at all. The schools have only gone back for the love of God.
When a friend told me in early September that she had all her presents bought and wrapped and even the wains’ Christmas clothes in I scoffed. I thought she was perhaps off her rocker and come December when the children inevitably changed their mind about their Santa lists she would left with a mountain of useless toys and headache the like of which would render her unable to function on any level other than crying in a corner and mainlining gin and tonic.
Now I’m a little bit jealous of her forward planning.
The season of goodwill? No, I don’t think so. For the majority of us mere mortals out there the next six weeks will be a manic, headspinningly busy series of disasters and stressful situations.
It’s a rare woman who can keep her head while all around are losing their’s - especially when that losing it occurs in Smyths over the last Ben 10 Alien Force Voice Changer. or in Sainsbury’s over the last turkey in the deep freezer.
We will spend the next few weeks trying to eek out from our children what they want from Santa while issuing a loop of “If you don’t behave you’ll get a bag of ashes” warnings as they work themselves up into an increasing frenzy of excitement.
We will then spend the following weeks trying to remind them of what they asked for and assure them that they do actually still want it and no they don’t actually want the shiny new toy which has just caught their eye. We will come up with elaborate reasons as to why they absolutely can’t change their mind. (Mine is that Santa took pre-orders this year so had everything in mega early).
Then we will try and clean the house so that it is fit to house a sparkly tree which will drive us demented within three days of going up.
We will try and make it to school Christmas shows, parent teacher meetings and Christmas parties all the while looking interested and trying to not at all look harassed. (Last year I mucked that one up entirely and showed up for the parent teacher meeting a whole week early. The teacher must have thought there wasn’t a chance for the boy after that).
And we’ll organise presents for kith and kin - spending money on things no one actually wants or needs for the sake of handing something over on the big day and not looking like a stingy fecker.
The more organised out there will home-bake some Christmas treats - maybe mince pies and Christmas cake. Me? I’ll buy some in Tesco, but not too early. I don’t want to make the annual mistake of getting the Mince Pies and the Celebrations in at the end of November and then having to buy a whole new set come the middle of December.
And believe my my most hated tasks of all the Christmas tasks is the pre-Christmas grocery shop. It is never pleasant. In fact, in most cases it is down right ugly. It might be a little cliched to talk about fighting over the last stalk of broccoli or the last bag of potatoes but I have seen it happen. The world goes mad with gluttony and greed and the whole peace and goodwill to all men notion goes flying out of the window. People forget year in and year out that the shops no longer close for a few days. There are shops open on Christmas day itself. There is no need for anyone to assault anyone else with a carrot and a bag of brussels.
It is worth it though, I suppose. I have to tell myself that. And when, in six weeks time, I’m sat in front of the fire, glass of wine in hand and enjoying the quiet after the storm, I’ll feel content and pleased with myself. Then I’ll promise to be just like my friend and have it all done and dusted by next September.

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