The Christmas Spirit is a (very tired) woman.

How are you going? Really?

It’s the week before Christmas and most likely, you are busy making sure that everyone is feeling really magical.

You’re probably still at work.

Maybe figuring out what to do with the kids every day since it's only week one or two of the longest holidays of the year, and you've strategically stacked as much leave as you can but there still seem to be a lot of... gaps.

Maybe you're in 'how-do-I-entertain-them-all-day?' mode, with art supplies half-abandoned all over the house and fractures already appearing in the best laid screen-time rules.

While you're here, learn what mums never say at Christmas. Story continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

You've likely been making sure everyone in your family and your partner’s family has something thoughtful, ethical and not too shabby under a tree, Googling what to do with a ham, buying extra wrapping paper because there was that time you ran out on Christmas Eve and the last parcels under the tree came in newspaper. Shudder. You've spent the last few weeks doling out affordable but relevant presents to teachers and swim-instructors and taking "lunch-breaks" that coincide with end-of-year parties and you've been making sure you’ve got Kris Kringle for all the kids' mates who might give yours one.


You're living in fear of an acquaintance presenting you with some chocolates or a candle that you now have to reciprocate with some chocolates or a candle. You're trying not to calculate how much money you have spent and you're trying not to calculate how many people you'll be cooking for over the next two weeks. Or how many houses you'll be visiting with how many bottles of things under your arm. And you thought 'bring a plate' might make the whole thing easier but now you're being asked what kind of plates and you don't know the answer and don't want to sound pushy, but you also know that an overflow of sweet potato salad is inevitable.

And it feels kind of unavoidable that you will get COVID (again) during all this socialising but you're hoping it will be the three-day version, written-off between Christmas and New Year, and not that stubborn, toxic version that's kept your auntie in a dark room most of the year. In the last gasp of festive optimism, you've been googling to see if there's a way to control that, along with the ham.

You’re thinking about where's left to put the Elf and do you have carrots for the reindeer and you're thinking, how do we stay... joyful for all this? How do we make sure our twinkle matches the lights, and our ho-ho-ho doesn't come out as a strangling sob?


The spirit of Christmas, in most houses, is a woman.

And this week, she's a very tired woman. 

Don't mistake us. Women are not grinches. If we celebrate Christmas, we do want it to be magical. If we don't, we want the Summer holiday – hell, we need the Summer holiday.

But it's one of the dawning realisations of womanhood that festive sparkle is not an effortless seasonal miracle. It's the result of planning and grit and grind from at least one member of a household. Very often, a female one.

And on Boxing Day, and all the slower days thereafter, the family will offer performance reviews on the quality of this Christmas, of this work: Did the kids get what they wanted? Did you make it to all the different houses expecting a pop-in, for no more or less than the appropriate amount of time? Did any long-held family grudges tip over into an all-out war? Were there thoughtful activities and wet-weather alternatives? Were the vegans and the gluten-frees catered for? Did Rudolph take a bite of his f**king carrot and did Santa leave a snowy footprint on the mat? Did anyone get the bad COVID?


Christmas Spirits everywhere, we see you. Flitting between shops and phone, whirring with lists, blurry in a flurry of wrapping and ribbon and recycled gift tags. Counting presents and stuffing stockings and wrestling a gift card from the dog's mouth. We see you obsessively checking the weather app on your phone. We see you prepping to make it all look 'easy' on the day, because that's very important, not to stab someone with a fork when they tell you to 'relax and have a drink' while also expecting to be fed something memorable and Insta-worthy.


Listen to Mamamia Out Loud where I talk about how the Christmas Spirit is a woman, below. Story continues after podcast.

We see you desperately hoping the kids get that little light-up magic spark in their eyes, not a face bruised with disappointment when they open that hastily wrapped present under the wilting tree. Because you want them to know how much you love them, but not how hard you tried and how much it cost, and you're not sure your acting skills are up to that level of complexity. 

We see you. And we wish you a happy holidays. Which for us, mean a strike from 4pm on Christmas night, when the magic is over and the spirit is sapped, when someone else can just clean up the whole damn mess. The question, inevitably, is: Who?

Godspeed, sparkly friends. 

Feature Image: Mamamia.

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