It's beginning to look a lot like... a disaster movie?
The mental load of planning a magical family Christmas is always a challenge, and this year we can add the omicron variant to our festive stress cocktails. Joy!
When I am trying not to worry about rising COVID numbers, I look around my home at the usual mess and notice some unsent Christmas cards and stashed bags of unwrapped gifts that need my attention.
Watch: The things Mums never say at Christmas. Post continues below.
There's a lot to do and think about and I want to enjoy the lead up to the most wonderful time of the year, but it's hard.
I love that my kids love Christmas and I desperately want it to be fun for them, but I also remember a time when Christmas was less work, more... fun?
Back when I used to sit down to enjoy a Christmas movie with a glass of wine and a cheese plate, not as a backdrop to working through an enormous pile of presents to wrap.
The additional Christmas jobs and things to add to our mental load include, but are not limited to:
- An increase in admin relating to family and kids' social events and a reminder to buy the party day Christmas t-shirt/hat/outfit/socks.
- Adding all the extra events to your diary and sharing it with your partner so you can discuss who is going to do what and if additional childcare needs to be booked in.
- Discussing and organising within various extended family WhatsApp groups who is buying for who and where the big day will take place. Then you need to tell all the people in your life what to buy for you and your kids when you don't know what to get them either.
- Buying, writing and sending cards for family, teachers and long distanced friends.
- Researching and buying all the gifts for all the people. Worrying about shipping times and whether things will arrive on time.
- Getting the tree and decorations out of storage and putting them together reasonably well.
- Messaging everyone to say 'Merry Christmas' and let's catch up when you know you likely won't.
- Ensuring the kids get to experience some 'Christmas magic' such as making sure your cupboard is full of exciting Christmas treats, you have taken the kids to see Santa, or done a night time drive-by of the local lights in your town.
- The planning and shopping for your contribution to the Christmas Day food. Not forgetting the table decoration plan and sourcing of extra sets of cutlery if you're hosting.
- The organisation of fun activities and child care for six weeks worth of school holidays.
All this planning, excessive shopping and diary juggling is before you actually sit down and assemble the toys and wrap the gifts that Santa will take all the credit for.
Don't even get me started on the food preparation and cooking that has to happen so everyone can eat way too much and then spend all afternoon feeling bloated while washing dishes.
While I actually love the festive fairy lights in our neighbourhood, the kids' excitement about all the things, and a touch of wrapping while watching Love Actually on Christmas Eve, it is A LOT.