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Posted by beddie45
21st Dec 2014

I'm lucky, my first 18 christmas' were magical family times, when wonderful memories were made.

then one to forget, before the next 11 I spent, usually working shifts, away from family. Upto then, I wasn't a parent, and enjoyed all the build up, the queues in shops, obliviously abusing the credit card, as well as my liver.
Becoming a parent changed it all, and I fell into that cliched trap, of trying to create the 'perfect Xmas'.

I spent around 8 years I think, not really being in the moment of the time, (does that make sense?).
I would manically ensure all shopping & wrapping was done, in secret, so my daughter didn't see any presents, not just the ones for her, but those for others too. I even hid all wrapping paper from her, and was fanatical about it, and remember becoming really irritated by folks who would openly announce and deliver gifts in front of her!
Everything had to be wrapped and hidden, before school finished for the holidays.
I also insisted on maintaining a 'tradition' I started on boxing day when my daughter was a baby, by hosting a family party every year. Great parties, great memories (& photos), but by Boxing Day, I was usually completely burnt out!
And of course, the house had to cleaned 'from top to bottom'.
Needless to say, every Xmas for around 8 years, I was physically ill with coughs & colds.
Secondary school saw my gradual realisation (along with a major meltdown that year), that in doing 'all this', I was actually missing out.
Good god its so much easier now, wrapping gifts, and placing them under the tree, with my daughter, right up until Xmas Eve if need be!
I remember one year, close to collapse, saying to myself, 'stop being so stupid, - he isn't real, there isn't really a bloke coming to look thro your whole house, what does it matter if your house isn't sparklingly clean throughout, and the beds haven't been changed - who cares!'
I even stopped the boxing day parties, as I had the 'light bulb moment', that actually, I wasn't fully 'in the zone', with my daughter Xmas Day, because I was preoccupied with what had to be done for the following day. Plus the fact I was bloody skint by then anyhow.
I've seen lots of articles this year, about the stresses / myths, of creating the perfect Xmas.
I believe it is all very personal, private, and relative.

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