OMG it’s nearly December and Christmas is looming again. I’m at the stage where I can’t be arsed to get all the decorations out of the loft or buy a tree, let alone order a turkey and think about presents.
Last year, was relatively simple because there was only one other person to cook a Christmas meal for….my mother. It was the smallest Christmas party we have ever had and I was dreading it (sure she was too!). The children had gone to their father’s at midday on the 25th after a very hungover bout of present opening (that’s what happens when they become teenagers and want to go out with their friends on Christmas eve). Once they had left, my mother went to sleep for about five hours (she’d been in hospital a lot of last year and couldn’t walk after her operation and the children had woken her up when they’d come home in the early hours of Christmas morning), so I got quietly pissed on my own, talked to the cat and cooked our not so teeny weeny supper – no FHB required here (Family Hold Back). Usually when I don’t have my children we join forces with friends, but as my mother wasn’t very mobile, we decided to stay put and enjoy the fact that we had more champagne we didn’t have to share!
Slightly surprisingly we both enjoyed ourselves (yes, I know – nil points for presentation):-
THIS YEAR, instead of a famine we’ve got the feast. There will be THIRTEEN OF US. So despite the looming dread about getting everything organised, it will be much more fun and I’m looking forward to having my children, my brothers, a few friends and the wider family at home this year.
My children are totally used to their split Christmas’s these days and it has become the norm. Every year they either spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with me or their father and the following year it’s the other way around. It works pretty well and everyone is happy that we all get to see each other on the big day in some way, shape or form.
I have written before about my top tips for how to survive Christmas as a single parent because there are a few things that have helped me hugely over the years. Some of it does get easier over time and mostly I believe that has to do with relaxing into the experience and letting go of what we think we should be doing. Trying not to compare your Christmas with anyone else’s helps as does accepting that it’s not going to be what you expected. Cheating wherever possible on the cooking of the meal (ready made veggies, stuffing, gravy etc) also helps, as does getting the kids to do as much as possible. They actually enjoy doing the cooking now, so despite the horrendous mess, I am happy to drink my way through it and give them the space to create.
I know Christmas can be tough for many of us and the imagery of the happy nuclear family isn’t the reality for most people – so we have created our own messy Christmas traditions over the years – our little team of four. It expands and contracts accordingly, but in general it works.
Bring it on!