Parents of young kids have all sorts of pressure at Christmas. On top of all the usual stuff. There are a myriad of things you MUST do, according to Facebook and Instagram. (And if you don’t, you’re a crap parent.)*
1. Elf on a Shelf. We have enough trouble locating clean pants most mornings. Sorry, but there ain’t no time to start looking for anything else.
2. Do Christmas crafts together. I hate crafts and yet even I have somehow been convinced that our ultimate happiness lies in creating a Christmas tree out of toilet rolls. TOGETHER. I have been collecting empty toilet rolls for two months. WTF?
3. Take the kids ice skating. Very soon Facebook will be full of families enjoying ice skating together. You will book tickets forgetting that your 18 month old can only just about walk and your other kids will only wear inappropriate (summer) clothing that deems taking them out on actual ice, erm, stupid.
4. See Father Christmas (and pay £15 for a picture so you can remember it). EVERY year this fills me with dread. How will my kids react this year? Will they love him? Hate him? Try and look under his beard again? Will Father Christmas nod off mid visit like last Christmas? This is what happened when we took Beaver, aged 2.Godivy isn’t about to let this happen to her and has instigated her own weird reverse restraining order where she remains a firm 10 metres away from Father Christmas. Then there’s The Boy with No Name who I’m pretty sure will just try and eat him. As he does most things.
5. Go to a pantomime. Oh yes you must! OH NO WE MUSTN’T! (You totally must though. Or you will damage your children forever and commit them to a life of therapy. To be fair, you’ll probably also do this if you take them.)
6. Visit a Winter Wonderland. Preferably Lapland. Assuming you have a spare couple of grand lying around (like most people do at Christmas). But if you don’t? Hyde Park WW is free. If you don’t do anything when you actually get there and just ‘soak up the festive atmosphere,’ as they suggest. Which, let’s face it, most kids are perfectly content to do. HA BLOODY HA.
7. Christmas movies. Now THIS I can get on board with. It’s free. It doesn’t involve a battle and three hours trying to dress small people appropriately for the cold. You can chuck a log on the fire. Get the Christmas snacks out. And have a mulled gin (yes, this is an actual drink. Basically, it’s gin. Served hot). Let’s put that on our Instagram and smoke it.