.....which means that the kids are excited and I'm starting to panic. Big time!!!
Every year it's always the same - I decide that I'm going to start early and collect bits and pieces through out the year and then realise at the start of December that I've got absolutely nothing in or ready. And don't even mention cards!!! Having owned a craft shop it was a given that I would make my own - and old habits are hard to break.
This time last year I was sat beside my 8 week old daughters bed in hospital, watching her suffer with bronciolitis and praying to every god and goddess I know the name of that she would make it through. Which, thanks to them all, she did. However, due to a combination of preparing for her birth in October, the hectic first few weeks of her life and her subsequent illness, it did mean we were way behind for the holidays - so much so that we only had one week to organise everything (including getting the gifts off to Santa for the kids ;-D )
Somehow we managed to pull it all off but I swore I wouldn't go through that stress again... and this year... was absolutely no different from any other year! I'll admit that I did try hard this year. I bought the stamps for my cards way back in February and even started them. Then Tony decided we were closing the business and I spent the next few months packing up a lifetime of craft materials - including my Yule and Christmas cards. We even started getting a few things in for gifts when we found a bargain or a freebie (gota love Freecycle!!!). And then life got in the way and before we knew it the birthdays were upon us, the kids were of on holidays or starting back at school and other things started to take priority. When we closed the shop in July I had it all planned - I would start up my own business again - this time making finished pieces to sell, like the cards and jewellery, maybe even some of my Fimo or ceramic pieces. All this would be done at night when the kids were in bed and I'd have a bit of freedom. But first I would finish off my Yule/Christmas cards so I wouldn't have those hanging over my head. Life however had other plans.
And so we find ourselves - 3 weeks (I think - I hope!) before the big day and my cards are still here waiting to be finished. And as usual we had the mad mummy panic the other day were daddy was literally threatened to within an inch of his life that he WAS going to go shopping and we WERE going to buy the gifts that I picked!!! And I'll give him his dues he went along like a good little soldier and we got everything we wanted (cos in the end he decided that it was a great idea of his to buy the drumkit, Happyland, pink stereo etc) for the kids.
And now we look forward to that other big tradition - the Annual Tree Decorating Arguement. An evening of family togetherness, where the kids argue and fight over who's putting what where and shout at the wee ones for taking the decorations off as they're being put on.
I'd like it to be like my memories of my childhood - I believe in my heart that this time of the year is the one last real piece of magic in a childs life and therefore in their parents/caregivers lives. I try to make it special for them and it breaks my heart each year that it never seems to work out that way - that both Tony and I allow ourselves to get caught up in the stress that goes with the whole season. Somehow, while trying to re-capture that part of us that are forever children, we unwittingly allow the adult to come out and spoil it for everyone. We spend this time of the year threatening and blackmailing that it will be cancelled (which it has been at least 4 times already this week!!!) instead of embracing the magic and allowing ourselves to be carried away with it. Basically we try way too hard to make it "perfect" for the kids - who cares if it's perfect - IT'S CHRISTMAS!!!!
But we live in hope that this year things will be different - that daddy won't lose the head and complain about how much this is costing him and that mummy won't go psycho. That Ryan will not get aggressive when Rebecca puts the decoration he wanted on the tree, that Jonathan won't open too many of the gifts before time and that Jessica will leave a few decorations on the bottom of the tree.
And that despite - or perhaps inspite - of everything - we will have the perfect Yule and Christmas that we're all dreaming off........