10 ways Christmas is different as a parent.

How much do you love this time of year? Your troubles miles away, faithful friends gathering near to you, frolicking and playing and hanging all those shiny stars on the highest boughs.

(Oh Bing. You make it all so real for us.)

Well, until your two-year-old pulls the shiny stars off those boughs, knocks the tree over (again) and eats seven candy canes, plastic wrapper and all.

Christmas with kids.

It’s 20 times the wrapping paper, eight times the chocolate and 100% less sleep.

Oh that first year is delightful. All those firsts. Your gurgling bundle laid under the tree adorned in a baby Santa hat bewildered by the twinkly lights while you carefully open tastefully wrapped presents of “Baby’s first Christmas onseies” and “Bubs First photo frame.”

You manage a Christmas day nap and avoid most of the rellies with cries of exhaustion from all those late night feeds. If it was snowing outside and a log was crackling on the fire you could almost bottle it couldn’t you?

Well enjoy it while you can, cause it ain’t going to be repeated. Ever.

Christmas AK (that’s after kids for the uninitiated).

10 ways Christmas AK is different:

1. The tree.
Your Christmas tree goes from stylishly Pinterest-worthy decorated in two artful designer colours, with a wistful carefully placed owl or two… to being choc full of homemade Christmas decorations. Laden down with pre-school artworks, photo frames, and stuck on bits of cotton wool. The lights will be at least three different colours and will flash in a sequence to the beat of Jingle Bells.


2. Shopping is hell.

 Before kids Christmas shopping is a thrill, you write a list, you take your time browsing several stores, you stop for a festive nightcap and to listen to the carolers outside David Jones. Oh the atmosphere. Oh the experience.

After kids. It’s like a living hell. You will frantically grab whatever lurid piece of plastic you can get your hands on before you lose your toddler in the toystore. You will lose your shit approximately seven times and will spend just as much time in the queue to buy treats to shut your kids up as you spent trying to find pram-friendly parking.

3. The pre-game.  

Organising before kids was something you began in early December. You started writing lists and colour coordinating your wrapping paper with your Christmas cards.

After kids organising actually starts in the June sales. (Good girl.)

But by the time December rolls around you have forgotten where you stashed half the stuff you’ve bought, and the other half always seem to be all for one kid. There’s one child with ten presents and the other child has just three Lego sets of exactly the same Star Wars figure.


4. The lies.

After kids I am sorry to say you will become a professional hypocrite. Lying will be second nature to you by the time the fourth or fifth Chrissy rolls around. Oh yes Santa got your list. Oh yes that really is Reindeer footprints. No you just thought you saw Daddy bringing in a bike last week and stashing it in the garage. It was actually for the next-door neighbour’s cousin. What a surprise yours looks just like it.

5. The presents for your partner are rubbish.

After kids you stop lavishing each other with gifts, instead some short circuit of your brain will convince you your partner really will be happy with the paper mache paper weight and flashing Santa key ring.

6. Christmas Eve. 

Pre kids you stayed up to the stroke of midnight in your swingy red Christmas dress downing whisky sours and home made eggnog.

After kids you stay up until the stoke of midnight, still in that morning’s PJ’s and uggs frantically stuffing stockings, hoping the kids don’t wake up at the sound of you and your partner arguing about how much you spent this year.

7. The panic-buy.

kids you have a mild panic attack at 6pm and rush out because you realise the bottle shops are closed Christmas Day. After kids you have the same panic attack when you realise you forgot to buy carrots to leave out for Rudolf.


8. The start-line.

Before kids, Christmas morning starts with a late wake up and a leisurely brunch before heading out to visit the rellos. After kids it’s a 4.30am start and by 9am you have made three trips to the local servo for batteries.

9. The fights. 

Before kids you argue with your mother-in-law about who is going to take home the turkey leftovers. After kids you argue with your mother-in-law about how you actually meant it when you asked her NOT to buy your four-year old an X-Box.

10. The joy. Yup. The joy.

Before kids Christmas is a trip down memory lane, a throwback to those glorious days of being young, of growing up, of believing in magic and fairytales. After kids Christmas IS magic.

The happiness of your day will be set alight by the excitement of your little ones. You will delight in their early morning wake up. You will hold them tight and breath in the sheer beauty of being with them. You will remember only the fact that your family is happy and healthy and gloriously alive with the joy of Christmas.

Need something to distract the kids at Christmas? Try a compilation of Christmas songs like this: