I have a confession to make… I sort of dread this time of year.
Summer’s kicking in, the nights are warmer, the mangoes are ripening, but - wouldn’t you know it - I have Christmas shopping to do. In a mall filled with other crazed mothers consulting lists, pushing trolleys heaped with toys and food that remind me how broke I am, all to the soundtrack of what I can only assume is a curated selection called ‘Crappiest Christmas Songs Ever’.
And when that’s finished, it’s house cleaning before the mandatory drinkies, star-shaped cookie-making for the teachers’ gifts, school presentation nights to go to (oh, the excruciating dullness), untangling the Christmas lights I’ve thrown with January relief into a box, and so on.
I reckon it’s really much easier to contemplate the birth of Jesus in, say, June, when there’s much less going on.
I anticipate Christmas with a heavy heart, and whenever I express my lack of enthusiasm, I’m met with looks of shock and horror by the tinsel-earring-wearing, put-up-the-tree-in-November brigade.
And you know what? I deserve those looks of disdain. There are other people having a much tougher time than me. So this year, I’ve decided to stop whingeing and try to turn this sinking festive vessel around. Or patch the holes in it. Or something.
So, instead of New Year’s resolutions, I’m making a few Christmas ones:
I’ll delegate. Whether it’s out-sourcing food preparation or getting the kids to do the tree for once, there’s no reason not to share the load.
I’ll say no. Five Christmas events in a week? Maybe I don’t HAVE to attend all of them. People probably won’t be offended – it’s a busy time of year. And they don’t need to know I’m just at home enjoying a few Santa-shaped chocolates and watching Netflix.
I’ll focus on the fun. Yes, it’s a slog, especially (dare I say) for the mums. But this year I’m going to button my lips about it and try to direct my attention to the end result – children laughing, delicious food, time with friends and family, and a reminder to look up at that shining star.