I’ve mentioned it before but Christmas takes a lot of effort. With trees to be rocked, halls to be decked and stockings to be hung it can feel like a lot of hard work for a pair of socks and some fancy soap. I remember before I had the Child I used to look at parents rushing around in various states of panic, posting manic updates on Facebook and generally becoming more and more hysterical as December went on and not understand it. What was so time-consuming about Christmas? But then I became a Mum and this inane desire to create the ‘perfect’ family Christmas took hold. I wanted my daughter to have Christmases to remember like I did when I was little, I wanted to create traditions that she would pass on to her children if she chooses to have any. But, whilst I love Christmas and all the bumf that goes with it I’m a lazy so-and-so at heart so over the last three years I’ve perfected ten lazy Christmas traditions that are guaranteed to make your day sparkle (barf).
It seems if you’re not hand-making people biscuits or candles or cat-hair hats then you’re not really embracing the real magic of the season. My solution? Buy some gin (cheap stuff will do – I’m not made of money), add some fruit and shitloads of sugar, leave for 2 weeks and voila homemade fruit gin. If you really want to make an effort then you can buy some fancy bottles but we prefer to decant it into empty milk bottles and pour it over our cereal like festive milk.
Christmas Cinema Trip
I know we’re lucky that the Child will sit through a whole film (read – lazy parents who has sat their child in front of the telly since she was a foetus) but if you too have nailed the electronic babysitter technique (patent pending) then a trip to the cinema at Christmas is highly recommended. You get to spend time together without actually having to speak and you get sweets. #qualityfamilytime
Christmas Eve Takeaway
Sure we all want to start the celebrations with some sort of wholesome festive feast but honestly who can be arsed? It’s so much easier to nip to the local Chinese/Indian/chippy and load up on saturate fat. And if anyone complains? Just shrug and say “my hands are tied, it’s our family tradition, now pass the ketchup”.
Homemade Christmas Cards
Now I know this one seems to totally contradict the idea of a lazy Christmas tradition but bear with me. Homemade Christmas cards are like catnip to grandparents. Seriously if you tied them to a bit of string they’d chase it round the living room on all fours until they rolled on their belly asking for a belly rub. They cannot get enough of that Sellotaped shizzle. You could quite easily get them to babysit from 26 December to 1 January if you write the request in a card shrouded in glitter. I’ve also discovered this year that it’s a great way to get rid of all the god damn paintings the Child brings back from nursery that I can’t bring myself to throw away but aren’t good enough to make the pinboard of accomplishment. All you have to do is cut out three different sized triangles (the shitty templates you got in the pumpkin cutting kit from Poundland are perfect) and stick them onto a folded bit of silver card so they look like a Christmas tree. Crafting gold.
Occasionally, very very occasionally I have an awesome idea. Last Christmas was one of these occasions. Instead of buying presents for each other, the Husband and I chose three books we loved but knew the other hadn’t read and re-gifted them. It’s not only a thoughtful, touchy-feely, lovey-dovey (vommy-wommy) thing to do but saved so much time and money (the real reasons we did it). In case you’re wondering I gave the Husband The Yellow Wallpaper, A Handmaids’ Tale and The Siege. He has read none of them because he’s part of the FUCKING PATRIARCHY.
Christmas Light Visit
Doesn’t it sound lovely to all wrap up warm and go, stare at the twinkly lights and take a bejillion photos of the Child staring open mouthed with rosy cheeks at a giant reindeer? And then after 5 minutes when you’ve frozen your (metaphorical) bollocks off, you can all agree that a nice glass of mulled wine/ cup of hot chocolate/ gallon of gin is what’s in order. Children in a pub you say? It’s Christmas, literally no one cares.
Guess the Crisp Flavour Game
I’m letting you into a real family secret with this one (don’t worry fam, you’re the only ones who read this blog anyway. Hi Mum). Now we all know the usual Christmas games – charades, Rizla, eating until you die – but they’re never that much fun (let’s face it, once your Grandad’s mimed Gone with the Wind it’s game over). But this game, this game is legendary. All you do is buy some weird-arsed crisp flavours (Aldi d some crackers) empty them into numbered bowls and get people to guess the flavour. It sounds pretty dull but after a few sherries it is AMAZING.
Granted, this one takes a bit of planning – you’re thinking about getting into gear (hubba hubba) around February/ March time – and sometimes a Christmas birthday is a bit shit (try finding birthday wrapping paper in December) but the Child’s birthday being the week before Christmas does mean we can nail the family visiting the weekend before Christmas and enjoy a stress-free Christmas day with just the three of us. Last year it was awesome because the Child slept through Christmas dinner so we actually got to eat it and have a conversation. This year she won’t nap but we have bought Hungry Hippos so #winning.
Christmas Eve Wrapping
I like to save as much present wrapping until Christmas Eve. That way, from about 5.00pm I can retire to the bedroom with a glass of mulled wine and demand that under absolutely no circumstances should I be disturbed (except with more wine). What’s that? The Child is having a tantrum because she can’t have chocolate coins for dinner? Sorry, you’ll have to deal with it Husband, I’m far too busy wrapping the presents. Can I have some more wine?
Now this one might not quite be a lazy Christmas tradition but it is certainly one I would heartily recommend. I’m sure most of us know of a shoebox appeal in one form or another – you wrap up a shoebox in Christmas paper and fill it full of little gifts to give to someone you don’t know who’s having a hard time. There are plenty of organisations that hold this type of appeal at Christmas but I choose to keep it local by supporting Shoebox Full of Love, which distributes the boxes to the homeless and vulnerable people of Merseyside, including women and children spending Christmas in refuges.
If you can, I’d urge you to take part in a similar appeal. If you’re local then have a think about joining Shoebox Full of Love and if you’re not local then Google will find you one that works for you. The Child loves packing the boxes (even if I do have to wrestle some items out of her grubby little hands) and you’re encouraged to include a card so you can let the recipient know that you’re thinking of them. When life’s tough and seems pretty helpless, the kind/ thoughtful/ funny words of a stranger mean a lot, especially when the rest of the world seems to be having a ball.
So there we have it, my top ten lazy Christmas traditions. What do you think? Are there any you’d like to try or do you have some that I can steal as my own?