There is a storm fast approaching called Christmas. I say ‘storm’ because as much as you might love this special time of year (“Mummy, look! Pretty lights!”) there’s no denying that the pressure is building.
Even if you just feel a change in the atmosphere right now, there will come a point where you are bolting for cover because it’s raining stress!
Here are the 11 stages of Christmas panic. Which are you in right now?
Stage 1: Oh, Christmas is coming!
When you first spot a bauble in the shops, you either smile or cringe (depending on if you are a Christmas enthusiast or not). Either way, you’ll tell yourself, “Well, I’ll start thinking about that soon.”
“Christmas will be nice. I will teach the kids to give back this year. And I will NOT get stressed!” you think.
Stage 2: We’re cool. RELAX.
Then you might give yourself a little talking to, that goes like so:
“Do not be a stress-head like last year. Write lists. Lots of lists. You’ll be fine! That way, you won’t forget anyone, like those wonderful kindy teachers. Just make sure if you order anything online (like something spesh from Etsy) you allow plenty of time for it to ship.”
Stage 3: Agh! It’s Christmas
Then when you see the shops are decked out in tinsel, the talking-to might be more like a scolding:
“OK, great. So you haven’t ordered the special stuff online that might take time to arrive and now it’s possibly too late. You’ll have to hit the shops. BUT shop smartly and stick to the budget this year. OK?”
Then when you leave the mall feeling disheartened that you failed to adhere to the list (“WHAT WAS I THINKING?! Shopping with kids is IMPOSSIBLE”).
Stage 4: Late night shopping scramble
At this point, Christmas shopping becomes more about ‘when’ than ‘what’. So it’s not so much about where can I find this or that, but what shop will be open when I CAN actually do the damn shopping. Alone. Without a little person dragging you to the toy aisle.
So you hit Kmart’s late-night shopping after they are tucked up in bed.
“Can I get everything for everyone here?” you ponder. “Yep. Screw the list, I’m, desperate,” you resolve.
Stage 5: My family sucks
“OK, so we have made a plan for lunch with the extended family, but no one is getting back to me about what plate they will bring. I love them, but geez people, get it together.”
“You guys are more scatty than me,” you think as you write ‘husband’ on the bottom of your Christmas present list because you forgot him when you were at Kmart.
Stage 6: We do NOT have enough chairs!
“Should I buy a new outdoor dining set? One with an expandable table and stackable spare chairs that I can keep under the house? NO! Don’t be over the top. You can’t afford that anyway,” you think.
But seriously, there are not enough chairs. But then you remember the camp chairs and that kids are kids. They can sit at the play table or on a picnic rug on the lawn.
Stage 7: Presents have gone to crap
Gotta go to the chemist? Grab a gift. Likewise even paying for fuel has become a present-buying opportunity. Yep, a box of chocolates for the Kris Kringle. Sorted.
Stage 8: This might be coming together
The family has FINALLY come to the party and you’ve solved the issue of chairs. You’ve even got 99 percent of the present-buying done, except for your neighbour who surprised you with a plant yesterday. You didn’t think you were doing gifts so now you need to quickly get one in return.
But apart from that, YOU ARE DONE!
Stage 9: We’ve run out of sticky tape
“I am NOT going to the shops again. They are CHAOS. Thank goodness I have bought all the food and all the presents (including surprise gift neighbour), now I just need to wrap them,” you smugly think.
“But, oh crap. I’ve run out of bloody sticky tape …”
Back to the shops.
“Oh, we need cream for the pavlova. Good thing I’m here. Oh, and I’ll grab a gift card because I forgot my cousin’s teenage child who lives with his mum is coming to Christmas this year. Nice save! OK, now I HAVE to be done.”
Stage 10: Nope, need to go to the shops again
Too late. An emergency warning has now been issued. You can not leave the house again and get everything done. The punch will just have to be missing mint leaves.
Stage 11: I’m not doing anything
Boxing Day has arrived and it’s the best!!
“I don’t have to feed anyone because LEFTOVERS and Christmas is over. It was nice, though. I really didn’t need to get so stressed out,” you think as you nibble on another mince pie.
And you won’t next year.