Some of you may have read the post I did recently where I was basically having a big ol whine about not being able to find any Christmas Glee. It’s been a tough few months and we’re definitely not out of it just yet, the house is still the number 1 talking point and for all the wrong reasons. There’s just so much to do and we’ve been fighting the clock to get it ready for our first Christmas there. I think we could have done it if we really went for it. But after Alan missing out on so many evenings and weekends because he’s been doing things at the house, it seemed a bit pointless to burn ourselves out to get in a few days before Christmas and then we would have missed the whole build up to the big day, which, lets face it, is the best part.
Also, even though it was me who was really driving the ‘let’s get in before Christmas’ dream, when I actually took a step back and thought about it is started to seem a bit silly. I’ve put Christmas on this pedestal, wanting it to live up to all sorts of Insta-worthy amazingness when really, all the children care about it playing with their new toys and seeing their cousins. The don’t even care about the Christmas dinner. They’d probably be happier with pizza if we’re all being honest about it.
So now we’ve decided not to move in before Christmas and stay with Alan’s mum and dad for it. It’s different for all of us and there’s some things we’re all having to do a little differently. For example, the Christmas tree has gone up a little later than we would have normally have done it (due to T’s incessant asking about it), but a little earlier than they would have done it (due to T’s incessant asking about it). And I’m sure it’ll be really lovely for them to see the little ones’ excitement on Christmas morning, but there’s no way they’ll be loving the fact the excitement starts at 5am.
Anyway, thinking about these small things that will be a bit different this year has got me thinking about all the utter craziness that we can get sucked into in trying to make Christmas perfect.
Before you read on, if you do any/all of the below and love it, that’s great. I’m not judging. Christmas traditions are brilliant as long as we enjoy doing them. The things I’ve noted below are simply some of the things I’ve not found so enjoyable but have been sucked into in some bid to create Christmas perfection.
- Elf on the Shelf. Now I thought this was a great idea when I saw an old school friend of mine doing this for the first time about 4 years ago. I laughed so much at her pictures and it seemed like great fun. So we decided to try it for ourselves last year. Oh F**K, how we regretted that by December 4th. Because here’s the thing. We’re tired at night. So, come 11pm when you sink into bed, there is literally nothing worse than remembering you’ve done anything with that bloody elf and then having actual rows about whose turn it is to go move the bloody thing! This year the elf is in storage and I was worried about what we’d do and even considered buying another one. Thankfully our eldest has the memory of a goldfish and he’s never mentioned it this year so this is one tradition I’m more than happy to scrap.
- Buying and decorating the tree. Like everyone we make a big deal about this every year but thinking back there has not been one time this has been fun. We try to make the purchasing of a real tree sound like we’re taking them to Disneyland, and it works until you arrive and they decide this is crap so they run off. When you arrive home the interest in the actual decorating only lasts about 2.5 minutes, then they just want you to play. But you can’t play because the decorations are splayed across the entire living room floor as though we’re trying to recreate a scene from Home Alone. Then they whine about how no one will play with them. Then you realise at least one set of lights has gone so have to traipse out again and you come back with the wrong colour and then you finally give in and chuck everything back in the box, to be done after the kids are in bed. This year Alan’s parents pretty much sorted the whole tree and the kids came in to ‘help’ with the last few decorations and it worked out just fine. No stress, no shouting, no me running off to make dinner in a bit to get 10 minutes of peace from it all.
- The perfection of present buying. This year we have opted not to buy any of the adults presents and oh wow, what a relief. We never know what to buy, I don’t think we often get it right and there’s always a bit of awkwardness opening them in front of everyone, when we really just want to be guzzling the wine and eating the Quality Street. Every year I also swear we’re not going mad with the presents from Santa and then I feel a little guilty that they’ll not have many parcels to open so rush out to buy some cheap tat. Why?! Because the couch will look a bit empty. Ridiculous. I’m not doing it this year. We’re lucky that our two still don’t really have any expectations at Christmas and also realise their expectations will be set by us so I’m not getting sucked into buying pointless gifts just for the sake of it.
- And while we’re on the subject of gifts, I’ve had a thing the last few years about wrapping paper and wanting everything to look perfect. This year I just thought screw it and let Tom pick the wrapping (not from Santa obvs) and so everyone has a gift wrapped in Avengers paper. I’ll be very honest about this actually. I let him pick the wrapping paper, then walked around Asda and saw some really nice paper and tried to get him to put his tacky crap back. Then I realised I was being a bit of a t**t and let it go. Who cares. It could be wrapped in toilet roll for all the kids care when they’re given a present. He was delighted, I was happy to get out of Asda unscathed. We’re all happy.
- Lastly, Christmas Eve boxes. We did a year of Christmas Eve pjs, then a year of the pjs and a hot chocolate kit and then a year of the pjs, hot chocolate kit and a dvd. No. Not doing it. We spend a heck of a lot at Christmas time and to be honest, it just doesn’t float their boat so in a bit to create a festive mood we just waste money. Instead we’ll be spending Christmas Eve with some friends in the morning for some garden centre breakfast rolls and then visiting my sister and her family late afternoon for more eating and then we’ll chill out in any old jammies we can find, give them a fruit shoot (cos they don’t even like hot chocolate anyway) and take our pick of films from Netflix thank you very much.
I realise that I sound like a proper Scrooge just now, but I’m honestly not. I blinking love Christmas. I love it so much I always want it to be absolutely perfect. But the thing it, it isn’t perfect. There will still be tantrums and mess and sometimes the kids just aren’t in the mood for all the magic. That’s just fine. This year I’m taking it down a gear or two, accepting the imperfect and am really looking forward to just being with my family. And for it to be socially acceptable to drink wine at 12pm every day for a fortnight!
So here’s to a little less perfection and a little more fun for Christmas 2017!
Are there any traditions you’re scrapping this year? Or is it all about the traditions for you? Let me know!!!
Happy Christmas to you all when it comes.