Christmas. The time of year when we all probably need to manage our expectations a bit better: how much we can drink without becoming the office numpty; how much we can eat without gaining 10 pounds – which we’ll then fight to lose over the next 12 months only to do it all again next year; how we manage our children’s expectations of how much Santa is really going to bring them; (While I’m at it: how far can we stretch the Santa bribe? Saying that he’s watching in mid summer is acceptable, right?!) I absolutely love Christmas, but I confess: there are two areas in which I REALLY need to get real.
The Decorating Extravaganza
How I look forward to decorating the house for Christmas! The smell of fresh pine wafting from our carefully selected tree; the warm mulled wine working its magic through my body… I’m feeling woozy, joyful, festive… the children are skipping gleefully through the house in their soft Christmas jumpers, streams of tinsel sailing behind like kites; the glimmering decorations lie nestled in their box where they’ve hibernated like little dormice for the last year, a treasure trove of sparkle and shine waiting to be rediscovered; darling husband scooping me under the mistletoe for a romantic….
Oh! But wait – this isn’t an M & S advert (or Lidl at that – for the people of Hertfordshire), this is the Walker House! We have a fake tree – I’m allergic to anything coniferous, and our real trees always seem to shed before the big day, leaving them a bit naked, droopy and sorry for themselves on Christmas morning. My homemade mulled wine – eagerly awaited as it simmers all day in the slow cooker – is always pretty minging (too much orange last year, too much cinnamon the year before), and as for the decorations…. Well, the dormouse reference was about right. This year the decoration box appeared with a little hole here, a bigger one there, a funny smell and a substantial amount of mouse poo dotted throughout. The stockings had clearly been a little mouse family’s cosy bed since the box was packed away last January. And that’s not to mention the graveyard of woodlice. Geez, a family of them had even managed to climb inside a bauble where they met their fate. At least they were together : (
Romance under the mistletoe, yes OF COURSE that’s right – after the battle of wills about what colour scheme we’ll go for this year and which decorations to leave packed. There’s me, a bit OCD, likes everything to be ‘just so’ – “oh darling, can’t we colour coordinate the tree this year, I’m thinking something a bit fancy, contemporary, a splash of pink here, turquoise there, bla bla bla”…. but hubby tells me “but it’s for the children!” and we’re back to good old gold and red AGAIN, and a tree that looks like it belongs in a nursing home with a random bedraggled ‘Mr. Poo’ from South Park (circa 2004) hanging crudely between the fairy lights….Humph. This year the straggly black tinsel that in my humble opinion actually looks like it belongs in the Halloween prop box has been a slight source of contention. It’s now hidden up in the girls’ room draped eerily over their picture frames. They like it, so all’s good.
The Wrapping Extravaganza
I’m creative, I can make and paint things, I’m neat and careful – meticulous even. I can do colour matching and detail. I love those beautiful presents, – you know the ones – frothing with spirals of carefully coordinated ribbons like bubbling fountains, smooth fancy wrapping paper with clear, straight corners and edges, sellotape nowhere to be seen, tags attached and labeled with handwriting that swoops and curls across the card. I even know of people whose paper and all its finery actually MATCHES THE CHRISTMAS TREE DECORATIONS – yes, these are the people of Bridezilla nightmares, and whilst I wasn’t one of those, I am fast becoming a Christmaszilla because my wrapping just never looks very neat or, well, good! *stamps foot*
Last year I used red and green paper and brown card luggage tags and painstakingly ink stamped them all with matching personalised messages. If I’m honest, they took bloomin’ ages and they were naff and nothing like the ‘NotOnTheHighStreet’ look that I was aiming for. In fact they looked so much like they’d been created by a 5 year old that this year, I’m giving in. Yes! Wrapping paper designed by a 3 and a 5 year old. None of it matches, the sellotape is already bubbled and cloudy with fingerprints, the wrapping paper creased and in some cases (many cases) doesn’t quite reach around the present. We’ve disguised the gaps with labels that don’t match and smudged messages, in some cases more wrapping paper cast offs are smothered in holographic tape to hide our tardiness. Oh, and a few Ben & Holly stickers thrown on just for good measure.
So you get the picture: basically our house is currently a big mish mash of decorations, colour, sparkle, badly wrapped presents, dead woodlice and excitement. I can’t help but wonder how Christmas dinner is going to turn out!
Merry Christmas everyone! However you’re preparing for Christmas may it be healthy and happy.
It’s been quite a year for me… my children’s book was published in September and can be ordered at Amazon via the link below. Thank you again for your support in making this happen.