This time of year seems to go mad. There is so much to do and so many places to go that it seems there is little time to stop and take it all in.
I am one of these ridiculously organised people when it comes to the preparations. I shop throughout the year. If I see something that will be a perfect present for someone, I get it and put it away. This not only means there is less to do as the time gets closer, it also means it spreads the cost! I think one of the reasons I like to be organised early, is that after all the years of working in retail catering, I learned to dislike the crowds in the town centres during the festive period and therefore made sure I had all my shopping completed before all that. These days, it is so much easier with the joys of internet shopping – I don’t think they’d let me into the shops wearing my PJ’s and holding my favourite coffee mug!
The month of December is difficult for my boys, even more so than every other time. There is so much happening that is out of routine that it can be quite disturbing for them. We have to try to make each new or different thing into something that they can understand. It isn’t always easy, in fact it rarely is, but we learn on the hoof how to handle each situation that they find uncomfortable.
This week is the school Christmas Fayre. The kids work really hard to make this a wonderful evening. Each class has specific projects that they work on for about a month before. They use these as alternative teaching ideas, and then the kids sell the final items at the fayre. It is a must attend event! The children volunteer to help put on the stalls. Neither of mine want to, both siting they don’t want to be doing school things in the evening. They will however both want to attend the fayre – it is almost as if they believe they have to. They have also been learning Christmas songs which some of the students will sing. D particularly doesn’t like this. He is extremely anti-religion at the moment, so while he says he accepts there is evidence that Jesus existed, he thinks the rest of it is rubbish! I have told him that he is entitled to his own believes, but should never try to force his opinions on anyone else. He therefore thinks singing songs praising Jesus as the saviour of mankind is wrong. I may not be a particularly religious person, but I do love carols – they are always so happy and hopeful.
One way we help the boys build up to the big day, is to make a slightly bigger thing of advent. They have their advent calendar every year, which is a Lego Star Wars one, and I must say are very good at taking turns in opening the doors. The biggest argument each year is actually about who gets odds and who gets evens, as going first is very important, but equally getting Christmas Eve is a major deal. It is usually decided on the toss of a coin! I also make advent bags. Every day they get a small gift during advent. It means that they make a bigger deal about it so by the time the main event comes it is less of a shock at the change of routine. In the advent bag there is something small and usually silly, such as a pencil, or a toy snake, and of course a chocolate coin – its only at this time of year we allow our kids to eat chocolate for pre-breakfast! Today, D was ecstatic at the gift he opened – Fossilised Dino poo – so much so that he instantly wanted to record a video showing his You-Tube friends! Its gone to school and I am sure he will have great fun showing his equally gross friends! At the weekends, I tend to put something crafty in the bags so we can spend some family time, as I think when we are so busy it can be forgotten at this time of year – the extended family is thought of, sometimes at the expense of the immediate one. Last weekend we painted ornaments to hang on the tree, and we made teddy bears – I got a kit of teddy bear skins with the stuffing and wishing hearts to go in them, we all made one, and they were great fun to do. All 5 of the bears have had a lot of cuddles! I think it is something we will all remember making.
One day last week, Hubbys Mum came over for a visit. She stayed for her tea, then I took her home – she lives the other side of the city. D came with me and asked if we could drive through the city centre on the way home to see the lights. They are beautiful, and we chose our favorites. D was however really under whelmed by the main Christmas tree. He made a very valid point of saying it was no where near as beautiful as the one in our little town. I had to agree with him. The shire council give a tree to each town community, and then volunteers decorate it. The team that do the one here every year, do an amazing job. It is just as you come into the town, and it is so bright and cheerful, that one cant help but smile when you see it.
I can understand why the boys find it strange at this time. I imagine most kids do. The anticipation of the big day can become over whelming, but for kids that like their routines kept to, if we are not careful, it can become a recipe for them to fall apart. It is, as usual a case of trying to think of all the possible outcomes to each event, and planning accordingly for how to deal with it from there. The boys, being as they are, will of course manage to come up with something that I would never had imagined in a million years and I am becoming quite the expert of thinking on my feet!
There is still loads to do before the big day, with food shopping and baking, but I feel confident I am well on target. A couple of days before the kids break up, the Mums I know are getting together for coffee and a mince pie – more a case of a chance to put our feet up for a couple of hours gossiping before all hell breaks out trying to keep our kids occupied before they have new presents to play with! It’s always nice to see the ladies and catch up, as since the kids are taking themselves to school, we don’t see each other so often!
I hope you are well on with your plans. Merry Christmas.