I like Christmas. Really I do. Honest. In the 90's I even put tinsel in my hair and snogged an elf.
It's just when you're grown ups, parents, Christmas becomes a responsibility. Oh the pressure.
And oh how actual Christmas differs from the Rose tinted, Pinterest featured one you envisaged.
In my head snow is falling, rosy cheeked children are misting up Georgian shop windows with tiny hands in fluffy hand muffs. Everything is beautiful and smiles are everywhere.
In reality there's not enough prozac to make me leave the house. It's Pissing it down and pitch black. The Spawn rewrite their lists everyday. I hand over our pennies electronically only to find the very next day after dispatch, the bastard's publish a huge juicy discount code. Then comes the let's chase the couriers game as despite you staring at your door all day they swear they attempted delivery.
Then there's the conundrum of where to stash it all. You have no storage. Zero. Zilch. Nada. You were going to pile it up in the attic yet Roland The Bionic Rat is squatting up there and refusing to die despite having nommed several sachets of professional-die-rat-die poison up there.
Erecting (oh behave!) the tree should be a momentous occasion to cherish. In my head we bundle up with hats and scarves all full of giggles and red nosed from the cold. We playfully argue over which real tree we want and bring one home that's vibrant and huge. We dance around a fairy light lit living room with an open fire to Christmas songs as we adorn it with antique baubles and strings of popcorn.
In reality everyone scarpers at the mere mention of digging a path through the shit hole of a front room to make some space. The air is blue from The Husband's profanity at the injustice of having to get everything out the loft as the kids form a conveyor belt down the stairs with home bargains carrier bags of stuff.
The tree is fake. And wonky. And the metal arms just poked me. ... In the eye.
Then the lights come out in a tangled mass of nightmare and suddenly everyone needs to shit so they can avoid untangling them. Which is futile. Especially as none of the buggers actually work anymore.
The Spawn lose interest after five minutes of hanging baubles on. They're all on wrong and you're counting down the minutes until they go to bed so you can rearrange it. They've already siphoned away half the candy canes into their mouths and the bloody cats are playing football with the pine cones you glittered last year.
Baby is screaming for a feed. The Spawn are having sword fights with pieces of the tree. There's still 40 baubles from the poundshop that have lost their string waiting to go on the tree and The Husband is glowering from the kitchen hissing 'bah humbug' under his breath.
In my head it's quaint and kitsch and adorable. The room is lovingly festooned with rustic and antique simple beauties.
In reality The Husband is balanced precariously on The Dude's fire station (that is covered in Moshi Monsters stickers and home to astronauts) barking 'PIN! ' every few seconds at the quivering Spawn. The room looks like a Drag Queens handbag has vomited and the balloon clusters look like one bollocked willies.
In my head I'm sat in front of an open fire with a glass of wine and an old movie as I leisurely and lovingly wrap perfectly coordinated presents with brown paper and tasteful paper accents, trimmed with string and Christmas ribbon as I hand stamp labels with sleighs and North Pole post marks.
In reality I can't find the bastard scissors. The Spawn won't go to sleep. Baby wants feeding. The cat's are having a bitch fight in every box and sitting on the rolls of cheap paper that rip before I can apply cellotape. I'm t-total (yes, really) so downing vimto like it's vodka with the TV on mute so I can hear about lost blankets and itchy eyes and every other excuse as to why The Spawn won't go the fuck to sleep before they descend the stairs and see what I'm trying to do.
The Husband is smugly relating how much he hates wrapping presents before he bogs off into the kitchen to listen to black metal music and drink wine. .. ALONE.
I'm running out of hands and patience. I've forgot my Zoloft and keep getting distracted by day dreaming of homicide. There's no room to stack anything and baby shits. Again.
We awake to the aroma of Turkey roasting. The Husband and I embrace lovingly under the mistletoe. Children in immaculate pyjamas gather around the tree handing out presents one by one with gasps of glee. They then play board games until the feast is served.
In reality The Husband rolls of the sofa mumbling five more minutes as The Spawn chomp at the bit upstairs trying their hardest to wake the baby in the most obnoxiously loud way possible not knowing that the baby woke up HOURS ago, filled eight nappies and drunk me dry of milk and has only just gone the fuck back to sleep.
The Dude will be naked and dancing whilst Things One and Two are in mismatched pj's. They swear they've brushed their teeth yet when they open their mouths to talk the cats pass out from their morning breath.
Once downstairs it's every man for themselves. It's like black Friday in Tesco only more violent. The Husband is screaming 'PUT THE RUBBISH IN A BAG' repeatedly. I remember the turkey isn't in the oven yet and am banished to the kitchen for the day whilst The Spawn harass The Grinch to battle with the packaging of their toys. After much swearing he asks for his saw.
But hey. Ho Ho Ho. IT'S CHRISTMAS! !!!!
Where's the valium?