You love Christmas, of course you do. It’s a time to bring families together. To make children’s dreams come true. To unwrap piles of beautifully wrapped new stuff. On the other hand, someone has to make that happen, and that someone is usually a mother.
And while the average mum volunteered to host Christmas picturing a softly lit TV ad and an ELLE Decoration spread, for me, with a new baby on the way, the day itself is likely to run something more like this...
5.15am: Small child runs into room shouting “SANTA’S BEEN! SANTA’S BEEN!” Register that you only went to bed three hours earlier. Get up and express surprise and wonderment at what Santa has brought. Shed a tear as the toddler unwraps her Frozen Elsa doll, squealing with joy.
6am: Is that seriously how loud the Frozen Elsa doll sings? And it goes on for half the b***** song? And there’s no volume control?
6.30am: Downstairs for coffee and to try to persuade kids to eat something, anything, other than selection box chocolate.
8am: Visiting family arise, rubbing eyes and behaving as if it’s early in a way that makes you want to throw plates at them. Serve breakfast. (Ordinarily: start drinking Buck’s Fizz. Pregnancy option: drink orange juice soured only by the bitter taste of jealousy that everyone else gets Buck’s Fizz.)
8.30am: Go upstairs to shower using lovely posh new shower gel – well done, sister. Realise you only have one bathroom, which is now going to be occupied continually until the hot water runs out in an hour’s time. Go downstairs again to try to find living room floor from beneath clouds of wrapping paper.
9.30am: Finally dressed and feeling festive in beautiful dry clean-only skirt.
9.32am: First chocolatey fingermarks on beautiful dry clean-only skirt. Guess I asked for that one.
10am: Google “How to cook a turkey”. Find five conflicting reports, two of which involve brining the stupid thing for two days and all of which involve starting before now. Prepare turkey using elements of all methods (except the brining – you really don’t want to see the inside of this household’s mop bucket).
10.15am: Turkey does not fit in oven.
10.17am: Search house for meat cleaver.
10.30am: Saw legs off turkey using bread knife.
11.30am: That SERIOUSLY cannot be the volume of the Elsa doll. You can hear it from a different floor of the house.
12.30pm: Respond to first enquiry about the lunch with a serene and gracious “IT’LL BE ANOTHER TWO HOURS, HAVE SOME CHOCOLATE”.
1pm: Tree presents! It does make it all worthwhile just to see the children’s faces light up. Oh, wow, a Disney princess outfit made entirely of shimmering nylon. Let’s just move these candles out of the way, shall we…
1.45pm: Open oven to check turkey. Do we have a meat thermometer? No. Is it OK to sort of stab it and see if there’s any… blood. OK. Back in oven.
2pm: Crank up the oven a bit. Everyone's drunk by now and the sides will keep warm.
2.30pm: Smoke alarm goes off. Well, it’s as good a dinner bell as any…
2.50pm: Lunch is served! Bask in glory of own culinary brilliance.
3.30pm: Second helpings (Pregnancy option: third helpings.).
4.15pm: Ooh, chocolate.
4.30pm: Load dishwasher. Realise dishwasher will need to run another six times if this is going to work. Try to corral relatives into doing dishes.
4.45pm: Sweep up broken glass dropped by helpful but drunken relative.
6pm: Board games, anyone?
6.15pm: Physical fight between children over board game.
7pm: Go back into kitchen to organise more food/drink. Eat again.
8pm: Tense exchange with grandparents over what is a suitable bedtime on Christmas Day.
8.30pm: Children screaming, crying and hitting each other. BEDTIME.
9pm: Trip on Duplo brick and fall down stairs, possibly flashing underwear.
9.30pm: Red wine (not own) spilled on dry clean-only skirt. Next year, sweatpants.
9.45pm: Subtly try to encourage elderly relatives to go to bed so you can have fun with younger relatives.
10pm: Decide just to play Cards Against Humanity with elderly relatives as they won’t go to bed and are too drunk to remember. Mwa-ha-ha.
10.30pm: Cleanup of 1,000 glasses, 50 children’s cups, assorted empty serving dishes and 2 million pine needles.
11pm: Bed. Seems like a good time was had by all. Merry Christmas everyone!