How to take the hassle out of Christmas

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat and mummy is getting grumpy. And as if the knife-edge mood swings weren’t enough to put everyone on edge, the in-laws are due to arrive any minute.

I really don’t know what we were thinking last year. We had twin boys, not even close to sleeping through the night, and decided to host a full-on family Christmas, with all the trimmings. Of course the in-laws offered but no, it seemed like a great idea.

In my head I pictured the boys in supercute little fur-trimmed outfits, gazing wide eyed at the twinkling lights on the tree, giggling at ho-ho-hoing Santas while delicious smells wafted from the kitchen. We would forever treasure special memories of our blissful first family Christmas at home, I thought. And as I smugly ticked chores off lists – and even managed to craft a home made wreath for the door – I believed was gradually morphing into Nigella.

Fast forward to Christmas Eve. Bang on cue Harry and Felix both come down with streaming colds, battling to breathe through their crusty little noses. Husband returns from his twelfth trip to Waitrose just as I am putting the finishing touches to my gingerbread house (why? why?) The roof caves in, he accuses me of overloading it with sweets, and I burst into tears. At which point the doorbell rings.

The grandparents have made a six hour sleety slog from the West Country and are hoping for warming cuddles from their pride and joy. The boys are having none of it, they are so overtired that they scream if anyone tries to pick them up, and before the mince pies are even out of the oven everyone is starting to take it personally.
I suggest an early night in the hope the boys don’t keep the whole house awake but of course that is precisely what they do at 11.27pm, 3.24am, 3.52am etc etc. By the time over-excited nephews start squealing over their stockings just before dawn I look like I’ve gone a couple of rounds with Mike Tyson.

Christmas morning sees me struggling to balance babies and their bottles while passing round prezzies and sneaking sips of Bucks Fizz, OK gulps – but for medicinal purposes you understand. The boys show absolutely zero interest in any of their generous and carefully selected gifts and by breakfast time they just want to go back in bed. To be honest, we all do. The boys take a nap which would be a relief but it means they are up and full of beans just as we are attempting to serve lunch… for 12!

So, my plan for this year, and my advice to all Mamma Belles? Park yourself under a fleecy blanket and do all your shopping online (I thoroughly recommend www.notonthehighstreet.com particularly their personalised kids pyjamas) And when it comes to the big day itself, let someone else do it, please.

By Nadia Cohen
[picture credit: dreamstime]
Nadia Cohen

Nadia Cohen

As mum to a pair of cheeky twin boys, Felix and Harry, Nadia is mostly very tired. And sometimes she’s grumpy and very tired, but that doesn’t stop her attempting to have a life beyond sterilising and pureeing, even if that means she has been spotted strolling through the Grazia office with a Cheerio stuck to her bottom, or accessorising her fabulous Vivienne Westwood vintage with a smear of dried porridge.
She loves lounging about in the sunshine with a cocktail (those were the days) and hates smug yummy mummy types offering their unwanted opinions on her sons’ snacks, schooling and snot.

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