NANCY FIELDER: “It’s only 19 sleeps until Christmas,” My six-year-old pipes up as I tuck him up for the night.

The Stars Nancy Fielder
The Stars Nancy Fielder
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“It’s only 19 sleeps until Christmas,” my six-year-old pipes up as I tuck him up for the night.


Chance would be a fine thing.

There’s shopping to do, cards to write, decorations to hang and festive cheer to be shared.

Not to mention the ever increasing to-do-list, growing pile of washing, dinners to cook and chauffeuring to be done.

I haven’t the heart to tell him ‘Santa’ hasn’t yet managed to start the present shopping this year.

This is pretty typical of the big red fella if you ask me.

He always makes sure everything is just perfect when the kids wake up on Christmas morning but it is the mums who take all the strain in the build-up.

In fact there is a definite theme when it comes to gender roles over the festive season.

A bit like the three wise men who eventually turned up with gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Mary would have been much better off with three women visitors who would have no doubt made sure they had reliable directions, turned up on time, helped look after the baby, produced some homemade meals to keep her going and given a useful gift like a pram.

And let’s not get started on the shepherd and his gift of a sheep.

We all know who would have ended up cleaning up after that.

Don’t get me wrong – Christmas is my favourite time of the year and I love every part of it.

It is just there are so many parts of it and they should all have been organised already.

I take great cheer from the many mums who stand at the school gate wishing there wasn’t so much to sort in less than three weeks.

I smile sweetly while gritting my teeth and listening to the ones who already have everything wrapped and labelled.

They are definitely in a minority although most are more organised than me.

I would love to blame the balance of work, three kids, uni course and life but surely I could have managed to buy at least a couple of presents before December hit?

Ok, I am exaggerating slightly. I posted off presents to my nephews in New Zealand way back in September.

The aim was to save money by avoiding airmail.

I’d missed the deadline for seamail but had my fingers crossed they would get there before December 25.

Four days later my sister called to say the parcels had arrived.

Was she sure? At the other side of the world?

I’ve known letters take longer to get from Heeley to Hillsborough than that.

Perhaps it was this unexpectedly early arrival which lulled me into a false sense of security.

I had a big, proud tick against an important part of my list and that has been enough to keep me going for weeks.

So here we are, December 6 and not a single other present purchased.

My two eldest children seem to have Christmas lists that grow longer the later I leave the shopping.

Fortunately my third is too young to know anything about Christmas – although the fact he turns one in 11 days time is adding to the chaos.

That’ll be more things on the shopping list then.

To avoid the crowds it will have to be either 11pm at Meadowhall or sharp elbows during the Fargate lunchtime hustle.

After all Santa never disappoints no matter how tired, stressed and overworked.

And as for 19 sleeps ... well if the baby manages just a couple of unbroken nights out of those, then Christmas might just happen in our house after all.