How to survive Christmas at a time of multiple crises

When it comes to Christmas 2022 it’s all about survival.


Let’s face it, Christmas is always a bit of an Everest in the working parent calendar.

1) It’s generally really busy at work with office parties and the like being added on top of an already intense working week as every business tries to squeeze as much out of you as possible in advance of the impending bank holiday bonanza. Life as a working parent is generally about trying to keep ahead of an ever-rising tide of emails/to do lists while battling whatever life throws at you simultaneously. The threat that you will go down big time and never be able to get back up again is always lingering in the background

2) Schools – even nurseries – go into overdrive. Primary schools LOVE Christmas. They go all out with Christmas fairs, Christmas parties, Christmas jumper days, Christmas presents and cards for everyone you’ve ever met on a playground and, of course, Christmas plays/carol concerts, usually involving a very complicated animal-based costume

3) Christmas planning, including present buying, card sending, food preparations and so forth. All for 24 hours of sitting comatose in front of Eastenders

4) The weather can be hazardous [see this week]

5) Rather than love, sickness is all around you.

This year Christmas has outdone itself. Added to the general whirlwind [metaphorically and weather-induced], there is also the cost of living crisis, the pandemic hangover, several health panics eg Strep A and flu plus the general NHS collapse, strike action on multiple fronts [because the frontline services have had enough], the threat of blackouts…This is, of course, set against a background of war in Europe, more potential pandemics and impending climate collapse.

This year Christmas is about survival for many people. For those not having to choose whether or not to eat, it is about focusing on what matters and about developing the kind of dark parenting humour that will see you through not just this year, but the challenges of the teenage years when you move from being the goddess of the family, inundated with cards and art works that celebrate your every foible, to a slightly more realistic warts and all anti-role model.

It’s about snuggling under as many blankets and coats as you can find [or even making a whole wardrobe out of blankets/duvets], cuddling up with whichever child is sick and cannot escape and watching Last Christmas for the 110th time, in the certain knowledge that in just days you too will have The Sickness, probably just in time for the 24th and have to crawl your way through Christmas Day, no doubt having been woken at the crack of dawn by a very excited small person. Or alternatively, having had to wait up into the small hours for a teenager to return home. Or, if you’re lucky, both.

It will all be worth it on Boxing Day, however, when everything is over and you can just watch Harry Potter on a loop and start the countdown for next Christmas and whatever series of disasters 2023 has to offer. Ho ho ho.

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