’s countdown to Christmas


Is it nearly Christmas already? You may, of course, be one of those people who was on top of Christmas in September. On the other hand, you may be the kind of person who focuses mainly on short-term and emergency planning. We are now down to the last two weeks when everything ramps up. School events,  work events, snow days, family crises and the like all combine in one almighty to-do list. To help you through the next few days when both work and life go into overdrive, has some tips.

Pace yourself

Don’t overdo things at the work Christmas party, if you have one, because there will be no time to recover. Ever.  Plus remember that work Christmas events are not the same as social life. They are basically office politics dressed up with a bit of tinsel.

Costume Woes

If your child is in a Christmas play, do not spend long hours worrying about how you are going to create a lobster or other costume. Remember that sheets are very adaptable and good face paint often does nine tenths of the job. Get your child to paint the sheet. There is a certain pride in ownership. Also they should see the lack of a realistic costume as a challenge to their acting skills. Coach them in getting across the essence of a lobster.


Just like Santa, it’s a good idea to make a list and check it twice. On the list will be everything from filing essential reports and doing xmas card lists for colleagues to buying a present for the third teaching assistant. You can delegate some lists to children, eg, for their Christmas cards, but make sure they send cards to the whole class: good playground relations [between you and other parents] are essential if you need a favour at some point over the next 15 or so years.

Lists are also a good idea because you get to tick stuff off. That brings a sense of achievement and some semblance of control, even if for everything you cross off two more things get added eg Christmas presents for teachers, Christmas presents for children’s friends, Christmas cards for people who you haven’t actually seen for four years who have suddenly sent you one…Remember, Christmas is best viewed as a month-long diplomatic offensive.

Shop Smart

Limit all present buying to two or three shops or online and give yourself a two-hour deadline to get everything done and dusted. You know how much you love doing things against the clock.

Treat Yourself

Give yourself something to look forward to at the end of each and every day in December. The kids have their advent calendars. You need to find yourself an equivalent. Call it resilience training.

Share Everything

Remember to share everything with your partner, if you have one, because, as High School the Musical put it so aptly, ‘we’re all in this together’. Otherwise, whole months [and even years] could pass and you may even forget who they are. On the bright side, you could then enjoy the whole getting to know you thing all over again.

Things to remember, only at Christmas

Do not on any account invest in cheap shiny wrapping paper because the sellotape won’t stick and you will lose your Yule cool. Remember batteries. When choosing presents, bear in mind assemblage and your own sense of sanity on Christmas Day.

Also, get everyone involved in the cooking. Create a Christmas cooking challenge. Make sure to include washing up in the prize sweepstakes.

Finally,  remember to allow yourself time to recharge after Christmas so you can build up the energy to take on all that 2018 has to offer.

*For more tips, read the’s free e-book, Faking it: the working mums’ guide to surviving Christmas.

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