Working through the Christmas checklist

Only son has gone into Christmas card overdrive.


I noticed on Friday that he’d done separate cards for his best friend’s parents. On the envelope of one was a suspicious statement: “And also x says he has watched Ponywise Marie”. I have no idea what Ponywise Marie is, but the statement did make we wonder what on Earth only son had written in the card. Sure enough inside it said “Dear x. I approve your family. Merry Christmas. Love x”. Hmmm. I opened the one to his best friend’s dad. It stated: “I approve of your older son, but he says that he is allowed to watch [insert video game] when he eats ham. 1. Ham is not healthy 2. He should not be able to watch video games that are for older people. Happy Christmas.” Double hmmm.

Only son means it with the best will in the world. He is worried his friend will be harmed by eating too much processed meat [he lives with two vegans] and we’ve banned him from doing Fortnite or any shooting-type games. I’m contemplating what to do about the cards.

Earlier in the week daughter three revealed that her class was doing Secret Santa and that the minimum was 10 pounds. That is double the amount we’ve got  for the work Secret Santa. I guess whoever thought this scheme up didn’t consider how divisive it could be for those families who can’t afford an extra tenner. Daughter three had got to buy a present for a boy. The boy knows she is his Secret Santa and has asked for a 14.99 air gun, saying he will pay the extra 4.99. I don’t think so…I suggested chocolates. I’m not sure shooting is quite the message that was intended for Christmas.

I was feeling pretty much ready for Christmas by Friday. I got most things done early to give myself a window for emergencies and unforeseen circumstances. Sure enough, the clutch went into almost terminal decline by the weekend, the laptop has broken again, my partner is off with the flu and my cough has come back…No doubt it is saving itself for the full onslaught come 24th.

In addition to all the Christmas cards, daughter three has bought small presents for her friends. I’ve kept some cards back for the neighbours and for people we haven’t seen for ages who send unexpected cards. I’ve got the office Secret Santa thing. I’ve done all the family presents. The xmas tree is up, tilting, but up. I had a slight problem sawing it and the stem doesn’t fit in the holder, plus the kittens have greeted it with great enthusiasm and are taking delight in knocking the different decorations off the tree. The decorations have moved up to the top branches, which looks pretty odd, but it does not seem to deter the kittens.They see it as a challenge to their essential tiger nature. Every day the tree tilts a little bit more…

I picked up my phone on Saturday. There were 41 messages on the parent whatsapp for only son’s class. 41 on a Saturday and we’d just had the Christmas fair on Friday so what on Earth could they be about? It turned out it was the teacher xmas present. I always think I’ve got things vaguely under control and ticked all the things off the list, but the teacher present always passes me by…


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