With lots of family birthdays in October, I only start to plan in earnest for Christmas in November. I do keep notes and buy a few presents throughout the year but November is action month. This month has been full of lists and plans. With a weekend on my own at the beginning of the month most presents were wrapped and ready then as the only day Mr S and I could shop together was the first Friday of the month, we made good use of our shopping trip. This year November has not been simply preparing for Christmas but a bonus holiday too, so extra to do lists here too. I end the month feeling pretty relaxed, December is full of events but I have done all that is realistic to be able to focus on the fun rather than the stress of the Christmas season.
This weekend I have a night and day alone at home, my first in over 6 years since the children came to live with us. This quirk came around as Little Miss is away on Brownie camp and there is a family celebration at Mr S’ sister’s this weekend which the boys are attending. I was not comfortable with attending the event in case there was an emergency with Little Miss and she needed me quickly so I stayed at home. This is the first night I’ve been away from my babies in 6 years, its strange and I miss them but its an important step for both of them. I hope we’ve been able to give them the confidence and independence to be away from me whilst being secure and enjoying their time away. Little Man is with Daddy and has had a brilliant day but its hard not knowing how Little Miss is getting on at camp. For all her confident manner and bravado, she can be fragile and needs reassurance, I hid a little note in her pyjamas to remind her how loved she is and that we are all hoping she has a brilliant time away. The cuddle I give her when I pick her up at 12 tomorrow will be one of the sweetest we’ve shared.
So, the day which I have dreamed of arrived today. This week I’ve spent lots of time thinking about what I would like to do, although I have been restricted by my need to be local and ready to drop everything if needed. I think an ideal day on my own would be at a spa or visiting some galleries in a big city. I am somebody who spends all my time with people at work and home and am always busy, busy, busy. I was looking forward to the solitude. Today has taught me that for all I dream about being lazy and doing nothing I’m not really that sort of person. I had imagined after waving the boys off at 7.30 that I would jump back into bed but I was awake and looking for something to do. By lunchtime I had been to the gym, sorted out and organised my wardrobe, chatted to my mum on the phone, done some recycling at the tip, pottered around choosing a book in the library, driven over to the neighbouring town and done a little shopping! Since then I’ve read, wrapped Christmas presents, watched Strictly and this is my second blog post written. Its been a day of simple pleasures and to be honest not that much different from a normal Saturday just without the company of my 3 favourite people. The bonus was that I’ve not needed to think about making meals!
I do think that having a little time to yourself is a real luxury and a nice way of reminding yourself of the things you like to do. I feel refreshed and relaxed and know that I’m going to be a happier and engaged Mummy tomorrow when we are all home together. I just hope that the little ones are not too tired to share their stories and adventures with me.
Whilst it is only November 5th, my plans for Christmas 2016 are well in progress and it makes me happy to be this organised and prepared. I think this is partly because I grew up in a pretty chaotic family where Christmas eve shopping was part of the norm and everything seemed to be done quite haphazardly, I have happy Christmas memories but even at my young age craved some organisation in the season! Now as a parent and teacher December is just a crazy, crazy month full of parties, events and concerts which I want to enjoy and not to feel stressed about other things I should be doing. I should add that whilst I may not be running around the in the last week of term doing Christmas cards and presents, I’ll be making costumes, finding props and helping to create a grotto at work, so I will still have my share of Christmas madness.
I plan for Christmas from January, I do actually take time to reflect and record the good bits and what to improve next year and write them in my Christmas book. This is incredibly useful and my Christmas book is a lovely momento of Christmas pasts, I record everything about our Christmas with a few photos. At this time of year, I start to plan menus, gift lists, decorations and cards and wrapping. This year, we are away so the menus have been deleted from the to do list, however given our holiday, my Christmas deadline for everything is December 17th, so planning is key.
I take great care in my present buying, each gift is always about the individual I am buying for and I take some time at this time of the year to start perusing Christmas catalogues and websites for inspiration. I actually keep a note during the year of any ideas or conversations to help me with ideas. Mum has made a few comments about my soup maker, so its on the list for her, whilst a book I loved and know my friend will love it too has been bought for her. I try and do as much shopping as I can locally, we have a fantastic toy shop specialising in Lego so I have already been there to purchase some Lego advent calendars, they are an expensive calendar and different to our normal chocolate version but we’ve decided to deduct them from the Christmas present budget. I am making great progress on my present list and have started to wrap them up and label those to be posted. I don’t wish to freak my friends out so they will be posted sometime in December. I really think that this organisation makes Christmas so much more fun and relaxed. Christmas is not about gifts to me it is something more spiritual and family orientated, as illustrated in one of my favourite Christmas quotes is from Dr Seuss in the Grinch Who Stole Christmas