Social Commentary

My Christmas List…

No, this is unfortunately not a Christmas Wish List, where I post lovely pictures and tell you all the things I am coveting, like a Daughter & Dixon faux fur gilet for my daughters or the Pomelato ring being sold at auction for Save the Children in the FT’s How to Give it Section: (well, at least it’s for charity).

This post is about the frenetic anxiety that is brought on by my Christmas To do List 2014, which 1) I haven’t even started 2) Has overwhelmed me so much that my friends wonder what happened to me they haven’t seen me in days 3) Has me in a literal panic:

1. Firstly, I need to get into the Christmas spirit: let’s decorate a Christmas Tree! Get all the boxes of old baubles and sentimental Christmas decorations from the dark depths of storage which are brought out year after year to create a Christmas spirit.

2. Wait, that means we actually need a Christmas Tree to decorate it. Must get tree. Add to that: Get husband to get tree. Nag, nag, nag: It’s his one Christmas chore: ‘Get a Christmas tree!’ It takes a lot of energy to nag, you know.

3. Open Christmas Cards. Each day, the guilt piles on as I open all these lovely cards, of smiling friends and families, and feel so privileged that people actually still use post offices and pen and ink. They have defied modern life and have actually used Royal Mail. Very risky.

4. Make Christmas Cards to lose the above guilt. Think about every step it takes: 1. find a picture, no the naked pictures of the girls on the beach are not appropriate I’ve been told. 2. Use some great internet site to make cards. 3. Wait to see if Royal Mail will actually bring them in time for Christmas. 4. Buy stamps and find addresses of all friends. 5. Actually write out addresses. I will need to practice my handwriting, it’s not seen daylight for the past 5 years. This is just never going to happen, is it? If anyone is lucky, they’ll get a Christmas card by Christmas 2015. 6. Post Christmas Cards. Definitely won’t get them until Christmas 2015.

6. Presents! Teacher’s presents, nanny presents, family presents and the list goes on. Eldest daughter has been so naughty this year I have threatened not to give her Christmas, Birthday, Easter or Halloween next year. Her response: ‘Mummy, you’re so naughty, Santa won’t be bringing YOU any presents.’ She has a good point. Youngest daughter: Anything from Frozen. How has this movie become a multi-million/billion dollar phenomenon?

7. Hallelujah for Amazon. I am sure I can find everything I need on Amazon. Frozen toys, Kindles, Books, and electronics. That’s pretty much all I’ll need for Christmas, isn’t it?

8. Presents for ILs: SIL, MIL, FIL, BIL. (FYI: ILs = In Laws). Let’s be realistic, my daughters may not even get presents, so the likelihood of my ILs getting presents is very low. I apologise in advance, I really wish I had more time, but it’s just not going to happen. Isn’t it the thought that counts? If I forget the teacher’s presents, my daughters will suffer all year long, my ILs don’t have a choice, they’re stuck with me. I will forever remain worst DIL (daughter-in-law) ever.

9. Did I mention all the Christmas events I need to go to?

11. Christmas Plays x 2: Eldest daughter is a Christmas angel, youngest daughter is Santa’s elf. They have learned to sing Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer and Jingle Bells in English, Spanish, French and in Sign Language. Bet your kids can’t do that. I now know how to sign Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer in English Sign Language. But that’s another 7 hours off my life: Going to play, wait for play, play, wait for child after play, walk home from play: 3.5 hours x 2 = 7 hours.

12. School Christmas Fair: Buy Christmas Presents to donate to Christmas Fair, and then go to Christmas Fair and buy back Christmas present. Can someone give me the logic in that? Can I just donate xx amount and forego the time and stress to get another 3 hours of my life back?

10. Christmas Dinner for Eldest Daughter’s Class: Lovely 3 hours of requisite socialising with my new mum friends, and in order not to be the Class Pariah.

11. Christmas Dinner for Youngest Daughter’s Class: Actually, let’s skip this one, I don’t actually know any parents from youngest daughter’s class since she doesn’t have any friends and I’m becoming more comfortable being the Class Pariah these days.

12. Daughter’s Christmas Party: Choosing a Christmas outfit, buying Cupcakes for Christmas Party, and dropping/picking them up from Christmas party: Another three hours gone from my life when each minute counts.

13. Adult’s Christmas Party: Finally! An adult’s Christmas Party! Time to pretend to be young again, drink too much, dance like it’s 1999, and forget that you will be woken up at 6am the next day by giggling elves shouting ‘mama!’ with a huge hangover. Then promise never to go to a Christmas Party ever again the following day.

14. Feel guilty and take kids to a Family Christmas Party, which is a lovely afternoon event of mulled wine, ginger cookies and kids playing together. Absolutely lovely, but feeling exhausted from the Christmas Party.

15. Take the girls to Winter Wonderland, it’s a Tradition! Ice-skating! Another tradition! But exactly when do I plan on doing this? And have you seen the queues? It’s worst than the Wildebeest migration and almost as bad as Oxford Street’s Christmas lights.

16. Go to the Christmas Pop Up Project on Fulham Road, a great event organised by mums with children’s arts and crafts like decorating Christmas baubles. I actually really want to go, but there’s actually no more time left in my calendar.

17. Take the kids to the theatre, everyone seems to be taking their children to The Snowman and I feel more guilt for not being a Cultured Parent and not appropriately taking my progeny to increase their brain cells to the theatre, museums and concerts.

18. Christmas Carols! Candles by Candlelight at the local church, or The Great Ormond Street Carols? Wait, I’ve missed them again, I’ll have to put them on next year’s Christmas To – Do list.

19. Birthday Parties: Now is anyone else inundated with birthday parties at this time of year? How very inconsiderate of parents making babies born in December. Really, more presents and parties to attend on top of the Christmas shopping? Just kidding. December babies are the best. 😉

20. Buy wrapping paper, then wrap actual presents. Even Kate Middleton ends up rolling her eyes after the 5th present to wrap.

21. Take Kids to Work Day. They actually love the Tube. Unlike their mum and half of the UK population. Great way to inculcate them into going to work.

22. Find a Fake Snow Machine and Fake Snowballs. Don’t ask.

23. Take the girls to see Santa. Winter Wonderland’s Santa equals two hours of waiting in line for 2 seconds for a picture with Santa. Westfield Santa is supposed to be great with a snow globe picture of your children and Santa, but Whiteleys will have to do: it’s the only place to see Santa without having to wait 4 hours in line and facing the crowds of WW or Westfield. And I love that it is for the National Literacy Trust and Santa’s present is a book. Couldn’t ask for anything more. Actually, the best Santa we ever saw was at our Jewish friends’s Christmas Party. They know how to throw parties. Best. Santa. Ever. Unfortunately, we are NFI’d this year.

24.  Come up with a Christmas Dinner Menu. This truly means I am a grown up, no matter how hard I fight it. I am now the one in charge of the Christmas Dinner and no one else will do it if I don’t. I should have found a metrosexual husband for that. More decisions to make, Roast dinner? What veggies? What dessert? How many for dinner? I will need to go to an actual grocery store, since Ocado doesn’t exist abroad. Panic-attack-inducing-thought.

25. Pack! Did I mention we won’t even be here for Christmas? But, this year, most people are staying in London. ‘Didn’t you know it’s the latest trend to stay in London for Christmas?’

Finally, I actually need to feed, dress, bathe, playdate & air out my little ones daily on top of this Christmas list… (And stop procrastinating by writing this post). Anybody feel as stressed just reading this list?

When I am 83y.o. I think I will really enjoy reading this post, looking back, and realising how great it is to celebrate Christmas with little ones and their Christmas Plays and Parties. So instead of waiting another 40 years, let’s enjoy every second of this Christmas, and see you next year!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah & Happy New Year 2015!!