’s guide to Christmas

Christmas tree


Christmas is coming. Arg. Although it is now advertised from around August onwards, it is often not till around now that it becomes an unstoppable force. Even if you are superorganised things don’t always go to plan and every year it seems as if more things are added to the to do list. To help you through the next few days when both work and life go into overdrive, has some tips.

1. Don’t overdo things at the work Christmas party, if you have one, because there will be no time to recover. Ever. Alternatively, throw caution to the wind. Every day may already feel like one endless hangover so what have you got to lose?

2. 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 do not rely on their ability to remember everyone in their class. They will forget at least a third. Do your own research: 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. If you can’t afford a Christmas outing to a panto or such like, get the kids to put one together for you based on your family life, warts and all, or invest in a bargain basement Christmas DVD and get the entire family, including pets, to dress up for a home cinema Yuletide experience. Ho, ho, ho.

8. 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. In a similar spirit, avoid presents that come with a) large amounts of packaging b) enormous assembly manuals and c) the need for huge amounts of batteries if you don’t want to spend Christmas Day lying on the floor sobbing and missing the Eastenders Christmas special. You have been warned.

9. Get the kids into Junior Masterchef or Bake Off repeats so they can do half the Christmas dinner. Put your partner, if you have one, in the Mary Berry role and leave the room swiftly.

10. Remember to allow yourself at least one lost day after Christmas when you can drift around in pjs watching endless reruns of Bridget Jones to unwind so you can build up the energy to take on all that 2017 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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