1. In the past the Christmas season would be kicked off with a Christmas party held – FAR TOO EARLY – in the first week of December. You would begrudgingly attend the event though by the end of it (and several glasses of mulled wine) you are linking arms with colleagues / aquaintances and singing Fairytale of New York on the walk to the tube station. December carries on in much the same pattern. These days Christmas begins in mid September when the little ones spot the Christmas decorations in the shops and the demands for Christmas trees and the Christmas episode of Charlie and Lola begin. You have caved by the end of October.
2. Pre-kids you would succumb to buying a bargain priced Maltesers advent calendar for your desk on the 5th December. Eating the weekends’ chocolate would help you get through Fridays. Now you snap up a Lego advent calendar for only £19.99 and spend the rest of December assembling / re-assembling a not-particularly festive Lego scene. And stepping on lego pieces and pulling them from the baby’s mouth.
3. The only Elf in your life was the Will Ferrell version. Now you welcome your own elf into your house and concoct elaborate elf escapades to amuse / scare your children and thus increasing your December To Do List by 378%.
4. In the past you would select a beautiful, delicate decoration from Liberty each year to add to your collection. These are now all consigned to storage for the foreseeable future. Anything vaguely breakable must be securely fastened to the top quarter of the tree only. Any decoration within reaching distance of little hands with be redistributed around the house 654 times before the 25th. Half of these will be broken, eaten or otherwise lost forever.
5. The main focus of post work shopping trips was leisurely tracking down that perfect dress, shoes, bag, jewellery etc for your big nights out. Now you have turned sleuth to track down the latest MUST HAVE sold out toy. You have stalked employees from Toys’R’Us/Argos/Tesco on social media and have a spreadsheet with the toy delivery days and times for each store.
6. An evening of carols at the Royal Albert Hall or seeing the Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House would have been on the social agenda. Now you sit cramped on little chairs to watch the best show in town, the Nativity with your little one starring as the 7th rock from the left. A very proud moment and you cry.
7. You would get home at 4am after another Christmas night out, gosh all that Christmas partying was utterly tiring and you would need some downtime so you are not an exhausted wreck by New Year’s Eve. Now seeing 4am (and 1am) is a nightly occurence as you deal with babies that don’t sleep and ill children, mid-winter being the peak time for viruses after all. You are vaguely delirious with sleep deprivation but, lets face it, what’s new.
8. Christmas Eve was all about the afternoon to evening pub crawl where you bump into people you went to school with that you only ever see on Christmas Eve. Now you look forward to some peace after you have read The Night Before Christmas and bundled the children into bed in their new Christmas pyjamas. They would not dare to leave their rooms until He Has Been. You can finally sit down and relax with a glass of something sparkling! Don’t have too much fun though you need to get to bed as you’ll be up at 1am and 4am with the baby then 5am with the excited child.
9. You used to give your parents / boyfriend / significant other a large list of the latest handbag / beauty / literature must haves and you were confident of getting most things ticked off. Though your pile of presents seemed to get smaller each year. Now you cannot think of a gift you’d like more than a decent night’s sleep. Failing that some decent concealer. It doesn’t matter anyway you won’t get chance to open anything until at least Boxing Day. Your children’s pile of presents seem to get bigger each year. You take a lot of delight though from the look on their faces when they see the mass of boxes under the tree for the first time.
10. Your main concern about Christmas Day dinner was that your hangover from the Christmas Eve pub crawl wouldn’t be so bad that you wouldn’t enjoy it. Or that it would clash with Top of the Pops. Now you’re in charge of the cooking and you hope you can eat before the over tired, sugar high child has a meltdown. Or even better – that you can eat whilst the baby naps!
Wishing you a sleep filled, snot free Christmas!
This post was first published in December 2015.