Hold on to your comedy Santa hats, it’s that time of year again that we all just love – the pre-Christmas run up to the end of term.
Inboxes are bursting at the seams with hundreds of ‘urgent’ emails about nativity plays, charity days, Christmas jumper days, carol concerts, kids’ class parties, adults’ class parties and teachers’ presents.
And let’s not forget the school Christmas Fair – now that festive baby needs a whole inbox to itself.
So, before you make the rash decision to homeschool your children after receiving the 155th email of the day, here are my top ten tips on how to get through it all, with both your sanity, and your dignity, intact.
1. When your child is given the ‘starring’ role (along with the majority of the class) of a twinkly star in the nativity play, do not Amazon Prime panic order a silver T-shirt, just because one of the many nativity emails says your child must be wearing one. Who owns such a thing (except maybe Honey G)? Send them in a normal T-shirt and wrap them in Bacofoil. Don’t get much shinier than that.
2. Avoid handing over a packet of Jaffa Cakes to the already stressed out class rep for the Christmas Fair’s ‘home produce’ stall. You will be marked down as a crap mum forever more. Instead, buy some chutney and shovel it into some old jam jars. I find tying a piece of ribbon around the top with a handwritten label adds to the authenticity. Just pretend to take a phone call when someone asks for the recipe.
3. Do not hyperventilate as the stream of SignUpGeniuses comes into your inbox. They are only genius in their ability to freak everyone out. Sign up to one thing and be done with it. Before you know it, there will be a SignUpGenius to see who is going to sign up to the SignUpGenius. And so it goes on.
4. Have Christmas mufti day alerts on all the devices you own. You do not want to face the horror at 8.45am as you’re rushing to the school gates, and your child starts asking why they are the only numpty in school uniform.
5. Do not get hammered at the Christmas class party, only to wake up fully clothed on the kitchen floor the next morning, with sheer horror when you realise you were downing jager bombs with the only hot dad in the class. And you told him that he’s the only hot dad, while his lovely, sober and dignified wife pitifully looked on. By all means have a few, but just remember you will see these people at the school gates for years to come, and it’s best not to be labelled a lush forever, even if you are one.
6. Please do fill a shoe box with presents to be given to an elderly person at the local retirement home. It’s a very good thing to do. But do not feel you must adhere to the comb, talc and 2017 diary options given to you in the 75 emails about it. Shake it up a bit. Who’s to say a loom band bracelet, a troll doll and some glitter nail polish won’t be far more exciting for an 85-year-old than some socks?
7. Try to remain calm and together when you realise you’ve lost your children at the Christmas Fair and you’ve spent £50 on tat that your kids don’t even want (and which you are now carrying around). They’ve even managed to buy back the attractive plastic cooker that you thought you’d finally got rid of.
8. Continue in your attempt to remain calm when you suddenly remember at 2.15pm that you had signed up (on the efficient SignUpGenius, of course) to man the bar at 2pm, only to find, after sprinting through the crowds, that hot dad is already working his shift. He wants to know if you’re up for some more jager bombs. Do not be tempted, no matter how frazzled you feel, even after you’ve spotted one of your errant children pulling down Santa’s trousers – he seems to be the only one who hasn’t clocked it’s the headmaster.
9. Try not to bulk buy your children’s own designed Christmas cards. They are wonderful, of course, but you don’t have 600 friends. So order sensibly, otherwise unused packets will lie around the house for the next three years, the wastefulness causing you annoyance every time you clock them.
10. And finally, above all, try to enjoy this magical time of year. Inhale your children’s excitement and joy. If you forget to give your child the six pack of Cheesy Wotsits that you said you’d donate to the class party, the world will keep turning.
As featured in Huffington Post.