The 'joys' of Christmas!

The build up...

By Anna Cascarina


Who, like me, prefers the build up to Christmas rather than the actual day?

I love the beginning of December when the neighbours get their outdoor lights down form the loft and get on their ladders to put up their annual festive display to compete with the other neighbours!

I love the excitement of putting up the Christmas tree, the kids decorating it and then when they're in bed - moving them all around again!

child decorating a christmas tree

I love spending an extortionate amount of money on gifts for the family and the children, saying to my husband every year "I promise I won't go mad this time", but inevitably buying far too much because I just can't help it!

I love the delicious smell of all the Christmas candles and the mince pies baking.

mince pies in a glass cake stand

I love hanging the hundreds of Christmas cards up in rows around the living room from people I hardly know and from the 60 kids in the children's classes who send little cards of Rudolph or cute Xmas bunnies!

I love wrapping all the presents beautifully with themed wrap and matching ribbon sometimes with handmade tags or stuck on doilies in the 'theme' of the year and placing them all under the tree so that it looks like a scene from an interiors magazine (I wish!)

But most of all, I love the sheer excitement on the kids faces on Christmas eve when they put the mince pie and milk out for Santa, the carrot for Rudolph and sprinkle reindeer food along the path outside the front door. Their faces full of joy and wonder when they go to bed. So desperate to get to sleep so that Christmas morning comes quicker, but secretly wanting to stay awake in case they catch a sneaky peek of Father Christmas delivering gifts!


Then Christmas morning is upon us.

The kids find their stockings at stupid o'clock, drag them onto our bed and the mayhem begins.

Presents get unwrapped and thrown to the side to make room for the next one. Wrapping paper, bits of plastic, cardboard, paper and sellotape is strewn all over the place.

Then "Can we go downstairs". So we all traipse downstairs to the next load of presents under the tree. "Which ones for me, which ones for me?" they cry. 

"Put the kettle on dear" I say!

Excitement, noise, mess - then it's over!

We get a bin bag to clear up all the wrapping paper and plastic, we frantically search for AA batteries that we've forgotten to buy for the robotic dog or singing Elsa! We try to remember to say "Happy Christmas" to each other and exchange a small token gift rather than it being all about the kids!

Then we wait.

The kids play with the new toys and we wait to go to the relatives where the mayhem starts all over again. The presents under the tree start diminishing when more are packed into the car to take. The ones that are left are covered in shedding needles and look a bit sad and lonely.

We arrive at the madhouse, we eat too many roast potatoes, we scoff too many chocolates from the Roses tin, we sit and fester with our Christmas paper hats on playing the puzzle that came out the cracker. We all gather round to watch the Queens speech. We ponder, we reminisce, we get emotional, we eat some more!

Then it's time to go home.

Kids to bed, exhausted but on a chocolate high!

We sit, grab a cuppa, put a Christmas film on.

It's over!

More chocolates - oh go on then!