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And So This Is Christmas, Already!

Christmas. A time for funny jumpers and the hope of snow, for splendid decorations and lights that glow. For mince pies and eggnog, hot chocolate and yule log, for wines and cheese and decorating our trees. For ringing out the old and ringing in the new, for family, friends to name but a few. Sorry I’m trying to make this rhyme!

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Okay, now despite my romantic and idealistic entree, this Christmas, things haven’t gone down so smoothly in number 4. Let’s just say, I’m not doing too well with whole “Christmas preparation game.” Now I don’t claim to be the biggest fan of Christmas out there, but since I’ve had children, I try to participate more and you know what, some years I actually enjoy it. But this year, I’m struggling to come to terms with the fact I have 2 weeks left to do EVERYTHING!

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I work and I write. At the moment I’m desperately trying to get a book finished (yes a full book) and sent off to the publishers. I hadn’t anticipated them being interested, but as Murphy’s law would have it, they are and I haven’t finished the book, or close. I have to write a novel in a month. Now that’s thrown me off course. I also work part time. That’s also thrown me off course. Then on top of all that, I have to buy a heap of presents for people, try to organise Christmas Day dinner, parties and copious amounts of nights out, along with Santa, the usual school run and homework?  There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

I also have to write 30 Christmas cards per class for my kids because it’s honestly just too painful to watch them do it – I’m going to cut out the middle man this year and write them myself. I have 2 Christmas nativities to fit in, 3 Christmas lunches and a couple of big Christmas parties. I have to wrap all the presents and I have to put the Christmas tree up at some point. That also hasn’t happened yet.

The poor kids haven’t even had a trip to see Santa, so I’ll have to show them the picture of Santa we saw last year and tell them to telepathically tell him what they want – It’s that’s bad, It’s just too busy this year!

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I have tried to get organised, try to get Christmas under control. It’s just gone horribly wrong. I spent my Christmas money in Lisbon in November, I tried to start stocking up on food and wine but I’ve already drank 5 of the bottles I bought (not all at once!), the kids found the Christmas presents under the bed that I bought half price in Toys R Us and whatever they didn’t find the gerbils have eaten. I’m not joking. I’ll explain.

Over the last 1.3 years, I have become incredibly fond of these these little creatures, Blackie and Brownie (once again I did not name them!). So as they are now getting older and in gerbil time, probably hitting their teenage years, they are starting to rebel and need to run around a bit more frequently. So I felt sorry for them. In a way, I looked back when I was 14 and clawing at the windows to get out to clubs (yeah 14). I felt their pain so I decided to start letting them run around Bobby’s bedroom when he’s at school. My husband strongly advised against this, but as has been the theme for much of our marriage, I chose not to listen, and has been the theme for most of our marriage, I was proved wrong. There is a reason gerbils have to be watched -it’s because they eat EVERYTHING! So far they’ve eaten clothes, curtains, an iPhone charger, lego and of course the presents. Well, the boxes off the presents. But I was only trying to be nice and allow them a bit of freedom, but that’s backfired. Note to self: remember this lesson when kids are teenagers.

IMG_3227(The culprits I’ve grown to love like family – trying to bite their way out of the cage, just like me as a teenager. Yes Blackie still has half a tail missing! It never grew back!)

So, despite my attempt to get organised, it just hasn’t happened. I’m desperately trying to stay afloat, but I’m drowning, as rapidly as this ship is going down.

Ok, what to do. So I’ve thought about this and really, I need to get it in perspective. Despite the mayhem and the rushing, the bedlam and the fussing, I can’t help but think back to this time last year.

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I was ill and going into hospital, so I have to be thankful for being well. Not only that, I can’t help but think of all those people who will be on their own this year for Christmas, no family, no friends, no loved ones. How many children will receive nothing this year and how many people will not make it to Christmas Day? So you know what, it’s time to forget the fuss potting and the stress and time to appreciate what’s real and important in life, like health, family and friends. It’s not about all the presents, all the decorations, all the money spending, it’s about people.

So I’m going to stop stressing and do only what I can. I can’t do much more than that. Instead of getting stressed, I’m going to enjoy the build up, enjoy the company and whatever remains  undone, so be it. Because, you know what, so many will wake up on Christmas Day to nothing. So many will wake up to heartache and pain and some may never even wake up. So forget the materialism, and put it all in perspective. It’s one day!

So I’m going to chill out and raise a glass to that ……

Mind you, I will be pretty disappointed on Christmas morning if I don’t have any presents to open!

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