Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The Ghost of Christmas Past...

Thanks for hopping over from Adventures of a Novice Mum and welcome to my post for the 3rd Day of #12daysofparenting. We have many prizes to giveaway. Full details can be found on the 12 Days of Parenting page and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Nativity Angel and Shepherd
We bring you glad tidings of great joy!
Gone are the days of wrapping presents whilst watching Christmas films with my girlfriends, as we sipped on mulled wine that was kept warm - and topped up - all day in the slow cooker. Now the slow cooker does heavy duty cooking actual meals, and present wrapping is done hurriedly, at night, after the children have finally accepted that, yes, bedtime is happening again. Though the Hubby and I still enjoy a Christmas film whilst doing so. Nothing beats cutting lengths of sticky tape whilst watching Arnie punch a reindeer in the face! Thanks, Hubby, for introducing me to Jingle All the Way.

I've said goodbye to the mischievous delight of filling Christmas card envelopes with glitter to surprise my friends. Now karma - otherwise known as parenting - has taught me a torturous lesson.
Glitter doesn't go away. After a spillage, you will find glitter and sequins and other tiny sparkly things for several months afterwards, and they will end up stuck to feet, inside nappies, and in your hair and eyes. Glitter is very firmly rationed in this house now, and is accompanied by the repeated refrain of, "Mummy will do it!"

Candlelit carol services have had to go. Small children and a multitude of candles don't mix well. Neither do small children and quiet, meditative readings of the Nativity account. And add in the fact that these beautiful events tend to happen after or around bedtime, you can understand why they are no longer a part of my life. Instead we have the joy of the children's Advent service with ad hoc Nativity performance: younglings dressed as angels and shepherds, joyfully singing along to Little Donkey and Away in a Manger, their Christmas spirit not subdued by the shouty, unsmiling Sunday school teacher leading the service. It's not civilised like the Christmases of the past, but it can't be beaten for cuteness.

Christmas Party
Look at me partying back in the day!
I don't have a work do to go to nowadays. I used to enjoy getting together with my colleagues for an evening of festive fun, donning our party frocks, doing Secret Santa, and eating the first Christmas Dinner of the year. I don't get out much nowadays, and my coworkers live with me, so festive fun doesn't mean time to let my hair down, but rather an opportunity to forge another happy memory for the family. I don't miss the work dos so much, but I get a pang of envy when the Hubby gets to go for a Christmas party with his colleagues while I am in charge of bedtime by myself.

I miss going to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, wrapped up warm to welcome Jesus' birth, singing Glory to God in the Highest with the angels. I miss having a relaxed Christmas morning, breakfasting on satsumas and chocolate money, and prepping the turkey, before a leisurely opening of presents. I miss waking up at a reasonable hour - or really early because I want to - in my parents' house, knowing I can sit around in my pyjamas for a decent amount of time. Christmas with a husband and children is so different. Midnight Mass has been replaced with filling stockings, nibbling a mince pie and carrot, and making sure the car is packed ready for the next day. The relaxed morning is now one of high stress, involving the same early morning wake up as the rest of the year, and lots of urging people to get dressed and eat their breakfast so that we can get to church in time to get a seat.
Christmas Morning
Look what Father Christmas brought!
Stockings are opened hurriedly, and breakfast can't involve chocolate or there will be a bit too much festive fun at mass. We have to be up and out early, making sure we have everything we need for a day at my parents' or in-laws'. And I haven't cooked a whole Christmas Dinner myself since 2010. But I wouldn't change it. Not yet anyway. Seeing those little faces on Christmas morning, when they realise Father Christmas has been, is a joy that makes my heart overflow. Celebrating Jesus' birth at church with my little family is delightful. Theirs is an excitement that can't be manufactured. Christmas makes my children truly happy. They don't need mega bells (that's the codeword!) and whistles. They get to open presents, and spend the day with their grandparents.

Christmas has changed so much since I became a mum, but I don't regret a single change. Except, perhaps, having to get the kids to bed while the Hubby parties!

For more about how becoming a parent has changed Christmas, please hop on over to Spice Life Laugh where you can gain further entries into the grand prize draw. Full terms and conditions can be found on the Mummies Waiting website. UK residents only.

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