AS everyone else seems to be winding down for Christmas I have never felt more stressed in my life.
Work is bonkers as people try and finish off everything before the year is out and they can go on holiday.
And as for the children – we seem to be doing nothing but ferrying them around to party after party. And if it is not that then it is long-lost friends who desperately want to meet up.
The other day a friend whom I haven’t seen for months rang to say she was getting the next train and would be with me within an hour and a half and could she just stay the night while she was at it?
Despite my head saying: “No – you need your sleep”, I readily accepted her request and immediately started to strip the bed to prepare it for her stay.
It was great to see her but as usual we only crawled into bed in the wee small hours having burned the candle at both ends to get all the gossip out of each other. It was only because she was pregnant that she eventually succumbed to tiredness and we could finally turn in.
Despite being semi-organised and getting all my Christmas presents bought I have failed to find any time to wrap them up. Now I know I will be spending all the time the kids are in bed wrapping up presents which I know will only be torn asunder the moment they are spied on Christmas morning.
To combat this I have invested in a number of huge Christmassy bags into which I shall liberally be stuffing all the toys and gifts for the kids. I am even planning to have two stockings each – both of which can hold a significant amount of gifts which won’t need wrapping.
This year we are going to be travelling to my parents’ house, which is great for us as it means we do not have to start with all the stressful cooking and clearing up. But it does mean we have to be super-organised in terms of making sure all gifts are packed and, more importantly, hidden from view in the car. With three small people still believing in Santa Claus I would hate to be the one to burst the bubble because the children spied their Christmas presents early in the back of our car.
I used to take great pride in wrapping all my gifts.
Admittedly before kids I only really had a handful of gifts to distribute and so I would take great care to make sure they were all beautifully wrapped, to the point where people felt guilty opening them for fear of destroying my handiwork. Not only did I carefully select just the right paper for each person but I also spent ages matching ribbons and bows and tags.
Now I literally just bang some paper around the present – not minding what it looks like and write in pen on the top who it is too. It is all I can manage with the very limited time I have.
My other stress is that I seem to be the dumping ground for everyone else’s offspring every time it comes to holidays. Just because I have three of my own children people seem to assume that I am happy to take more in while they work. In theory this would be good if they then took my children back in return one day. But I only ever find offers to have one and not all three – sadly. So not much use to me at all. One friend rang the other day to say how much studying she had to do (she is a student) and she wasn’t sure where she was going to get the time to revise because her daughter was now off school.
Last year I got so run down in the run up to the festive season that I contracted Swine Flu and was laid up from Christmas Day all the way to the New year. I have never felt so ill in all my life.
If there is one thing I will make sure I do in the next couple of days is to take a trip to the GP and get a winter flu jab. Sheffield City Council and Sheffield NHS are urging people to do the same. For more information visit: http://www.sheffield.nhs.uk/news/gettheflujab.php