It’s finally nearly here. You can make it. Happy Christmas!
Christmas is, of course, nearly upon us. Congratulations. You have made it this far through the December madness of work life overdrive. Many people were flagging even in the first week of December. Everyone has been ill several times over or is about to get sick – based on the rule that as soon as you stop working at full pelt you get sick. The children are on an excitement high after weeks of school Christmas-related activities, often requiring strange costumes unless your child was lucky enough to be chosen to be ‘narrator’. There have been various urgent work-related deadlines to meet amid Christmas drinks or dinners or just general carousing. Work goes into overdrive as if everyone is disappearing for a month when, in reality, it is often just a couple of days [and even then many are checking their inbox…]. This is where the bears have got it right. You need some time to recharge your batteries.
So, having almost reached the finish line now is not the time to panic. If you haven’t had time to get started on some of the Christmas-related home stuff, don’t worry. Christmas dinner is just a glorified roast with extra tinsel. What is important is to focus on family time together – if you can – no matter how you celebrate or even if you celebrate at all. In a high speed, high demand world, it is not often that you get the chance to take things slow, to turn the world off and focus on the here and now, even if it involves extra washing up and even if you are on shift on Boxing Day [or even Christmas Day].
We often hold ourselves to almost impossible standards and expectations, but Christmas is just a day or two, even if it feels like some of the shops have been celebrating for months [because they have to]. And even if some people seem to have had their lights up since early November, lights that can probably be seen from Mars in some cases.
For many this year will be another hard Christmas with little festive or any cheer. And despite all the talk of Father Christmas, it still tends to be mothers on whom Christmas relies. This is when emotional and all other kinds of extra labour demands come in. It’s not just about buying presents for the immediate family [if you have the money], and remembering what they like and why, but about wider family and extended diplomacy. That includes presents/greetings for the teachers [primary school and nursery], cards for the entire class, even people whose names you only see at xmas, cards for the teachers, possibly presents for best friends and so forth. It’s a good idea to bulk buy chocolate, if you can afford it, in case of emergency last-minute requests. Then there are catering for school party days, pj days, assorted costumes, Christmas fair duties at the tombola [and the supply of old cans at the back of kitchen cupboards]…
Added to this is the emotional turmoil of the season. Worrying about elderly relatives being alone, about family members suffering bereavement or other forms of loss, about trying to keep everyone happy when family tensions arise, as they inevitably do…Basically it’s about what you do all year round as a parent, but on steroids. One final blast to see out the year. Of course, there is also joy at time spent with family, playing silly games and falling asleep in front of the telly and seeing the excitement on young people’s faces, even if it is at 5am. Happy Christmas! See you in 2024.