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presents Archives - Muddling Through Motherhood

Tag: presents

Christmas traditions…is it time to break them?

What are your Christmas traditions? For Grump and I, who have been together for a looooooong time, we always go for a curry on Christmas Eve. Pre-kids we used to go to the pub with our friends and then off for a drunken curry at 10pm (not ideal for digestion or the hangover the next day, I know!). Since having the J, we have still had our Xmas Eve curry, but as a relaxed takeaway at home, once she had gone to bed. She is now coming up to 3 years old and I feel that this is the first year she really understands Christmas. So it got me thinking about traditions and what we could start with her.

The J is old enough to get excited about Father Christmas (FC) and receiving presents, but young enough to not really understand or question the mechanics of how it all works. This year, I plan for us to write a letter to FC and leave him a mince pie, a glass of sherry and a carrot for Rudolph (as I did as a child). FC will bring her a stocking on Xmas day (full of Pound Shop goodies) and then all of the other bigger presents will be from family members/friends. Why should a fictional character get all the credit for the lovely presents that other people have bought her?!

I’m not convinced on Christmas Eve boxes, as it is giving yet more presents and the J got very overwhelmed with the level of presents last year. This year we have cut back massively. For me, the magic of Christmas is spending time with people you love – and eating an obscene amount of roast potatoes. Perhaps in the future, we could watch a Christmas film together as a family on Christmas Eve? And when the J is a bit older, we can get her properly into eating curry! Annabel Karmel’s microwave chicken tikka just doesn’t cut it.

I know that FC is about creating Christmas magic, but all of this lying is very stressful as a parent. I’d be interested to know what you tell your kids about FC and also which presents are from him? To make things worse, everywhere we go we’ve seen an FC with a very fake beard. Even in Sainsbury’s! Do you say it is a regional representative of FC? The lies are spiralling. But, I’m not going to be that parent who tells their child the truth and ruins Christmas for everyone else.

So this year we are breaking our tradition as a couple and all going for an early dinner at a local pub with my parents, as we won’t see them on Christmas Day. The plus point is that we can walk there in under 5 minutes and they serve delicious food (and wine…)! While it isn’t curry, the world isn’t going to end because we have broken tradition. I’m pretty sure that Tom’s family will thank us on Christmas Day when we aren’t doing smelly curry farts all day, too!

While I am keen to start a family tradition with the J, I also don’t want to be tied down to having to follow through with something elaborate and expensive every year. Don’t even get me started on Elf on the Shelf – that little sod is not welcome in our house.

As a final note: don’t forget to explain to your little ones that they can’t open presents sitting under the tree. Last night, I heard rustling and caught the J opening one of the presents (ironically it was for her). I did tell her off, but she was a bit confused as to what she had done wrong. I might have forgotten that we hid the presents last year and had not made it clear that we don’t open anything until Christmas Day. Bless her heart!

Happy Christmas to you all, whatever your traditions are.

Christmas Coldmageddon


As an adult, Christmas seems to have lost a bit of its special magic for me. Yes, in recent years this may be because I’ve been hungover on Christmas Day, but mostly the excitement of receiving presents has been overtaken by the stress of buying for others and just general life/work etc, getting in the way.

This year, I was a bit more excited, as when you have kids that festive magic is supposed to come rushing back. This was the J’s first Christmas and I was looking forward to it, even though she’s only 10 months old and wouldn’t understand what it was all about. We didn’t go crazy with presents as we knew our families would spoil her rotten. I had picked out a beautiful dressing gown with her name embroidered on it as her main present. Then we had a stocking from Father Christmas with some silly little presents.

So I was all ready for the big day and got my last few presents wrapped on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Normally I’m much more organised, but this year I somehow got lumped with buying all the presents for both mine and Grump’s family (he normally does his own family, but leaves it until Xmas eve in a mad panic). Apparently the job of ‘mother’ now extends to present buyer as I supposedly have more free time to do this, even though Grump broke up from school on the 13th of December.

Every Christmas Eve for the past 15-odd years we have gone out for a curry and drinks with our friends (hence the earlier comment about being hungover on Xmas day). We went out last year when I was pregnant (minus the booze for me), but this year we thought we would dial it down a notch and get a takeaway. We invited a couple of friends over and enjoyed a nice balti and a few glasses of Prosecco. The J had gone to bed at her usual time of 7pm and all was calm. Until she woke up. It must have been about 10:30pm, when we were just thinking about going to bed. This was the beginning of the night of coldmageddon.

That night was a battle of wills; she just wouldn’t go to sleep and we lost the will to live as each hour ticked past. We tried every single trick in our arsenal of parenting knowledge – from bringing her in our bed (too exciting) to taking her for a drive in the car (she fell asleep, but woke when we transferred her to the cot) – and nothing worked. She was so bunged up with a cold and kept choking on phlegm; bless her, she was obviously feeling really grotty. Nothing we could do would get her go to sleep. The only light relief was when I took her downstairs to watch TV and gave Grump a break (we’d decided to do shifts by this point). We sat snuggled on the sofa and watched We’re Going on a Bear Hunt together. The clock struck midnight and I wished my poorly little girl Happy Christmas.

I think around 3am she finally fell asleep in her cot and we got a couple of hours’ kip; then she was up at 5.30am. It is certainly hard to summon any enthusiasm for Christmas festivities when you are that exhausted. Needless to say, there is something quite lovely about watching your child open presents. It turns out giving can be better than receiving. We ended up having a lovely Christmas – thank god both sets of parents live just down the road and we didn’t have a long drive anywhere. I don’t think we would have made it.

If you told me before I got pregnant that the first Christmas with my new baby would be spent awake half the night with a snotty, crying baby attached to me and then sucking bogeys out of her nose with a strange plastic contraption the next morning, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Coldmageddon lasted three nights and could have ruined our Christmas. Instead, we made the best of a bad situation and tried to find joy in the special little things that the festive season brings. We also ate A LOT of food and drank coffee/tea by the bucket load. It wasn’t how I imagined our first Christmas, but at least I’m prepared for future Christmases with an excited older child who doesn’t want to go to sleep.

P.S. Father Christmas is in my bad books. He totally disregarded two of the main points of my Christmas list regarding sleep and illness. I thought we had a deal Santa?

Photo credit: Ben White/unsplash.com

Dear Santa, 6 things I’d really like for Christmas


Dear Santa,

I’ve been a really good girl this year – honest. Well, it depends on your definition of ‘good’, but I have squeezed a small person out of my nunu (polite word for vagina) and kept her alive for the past 10 months (‘her’ being my baby and not my nunu, obviously). Please may I have the following:

1. Sleep

If you’ve read my latest blog post, ‘Why everything my husband does it wrong’ you will know that number one on my Christmas list this year is sleep. So, please Santa let me get some sleep over the festive break. A few early nights and perhaps a 7am wake up, rather than 5 or 6am. Please let the J sleep through the night, every night. Maybe even give me the odd afternoon nap? Perhaps after I’ve had a few glasses of wine with my Christmas dinner? Thanks in advance.

2. Some ‘me’ time

I would really like a bit of time to myself. Not time to do chores or time to find freelance work (fairly high on my agenda, seeing as I am currently not earning any money) or even time to write my blog. Actual me time where I can paint my toenails, dye my hair, pluck my eyebrows or just sit on the sofa in peace with a cup of tea (or wine) and a trashy magazine. That would be wonderful.

3. A date night with Grump

We ask both each set of parents to babysit quite often, but it is always for events with family and friends. I would really like some quality time with my husband. It feels like we are two ships passing in the wind at the moment and we could do with a nice meal out together (something we used to do all the time pre-baby). If you could throw in some Prosecco that would be fab. There’s nothing better than good food, good wine and a bit of flirty banter.

4. No more sicky babies (or mummies)

I’m asking for this one for my mummy friends as well as myself. All of our babies have been through the mill with coughs, colds, sickness bugs and chest infections. We could do with a break. I know it comes with the time of year, but could you please give us a couple of week’s respite. It would be lovely to have a non-sicky Christmas. Plus, we are all fed up of quarantining our babies and having to stay at home feeling miserable. We want to socialise and feel human again. Dealing with a sick baby breaks your heart and is also knackering. The winter vomiting bug was like the worst hangover you’ve ever had times 100. Without being too graphic, things came out of both ends pretty violently. Not fun!

5. Less poo-scapes

I am fairly adept at changing nappies now. I’ve got to grips with the smell and the fact that my child wriggles like an eel in oil whenever I try to change her. I can cope with her crawling away mid change and I can even cope with the leaky poos that go all over her clothes. What I’m struggling with is when she’s done a solid poo that escapes and I have to pick it up off the floor or from my leg. It’s like a miniature (sometimes not so miniature) adult poo and I have to touch it. Seriously?!? Even with a tissue or plastic bag it makes me retch. Please Santa, can you keep her poos inside her nappy? Use some of that special Christmas magic. On the other hand I could just stop buying those cheapo nappies from a certain superstore and shell out the extra for Pampers. **Long sigh….**

6. Macbook Pro

Santa, I don’t know if you are aware, but all Apple products are a zillion times more expensive than other brands. Now that I’ve started a blog and I am trying to launch a freelance journalism career, I feel like I do NEED one of these. The trouble is they cost about £1,000 (sooooooo expensive when you are not yet in gainful employment). I know what you are thinking. I could just buy a normal laptop for half the price, but I want to use Adobe software on it, plus I have been using Macs at work for the past 10 years and I just don’t get on with PCs anymore. If you could just send a shiny new Macbook Pro 15in down the chimney, I’d be most obliged (we don’t have an actual chimney, but you know that already, you crafty old man).

Seeing as I imagine Santa won’t be bringing me anything off this list, I’m hoping that my family/Grump will read this blog post and take a few hints about my Christmas wishes (mostly just the Macbook and sleep). Saying that, I spent most of my childhood asking for a pet rat for Christmas and that never happened. Thanks a lot Mum!

Picture credit: Caleb Woods/Unsplash.com