It’s the week before Christmas, so far I have consumed 4 glasses (or bottles I can’t remember) of red wine, 8 mince pies, 1 chocolate selection box (today), 36 pounds in chocolate coins. I’ve cancelled Christmas 4 times, and I have spent approx. 100,000 pounds.
We are heading back home after a quick trip to Painsburys Local.
‘Dashing down the road… with one burst buggy tire.
Over the crossing we go… kids crying all the way.
Oh, jingle bells … this is hell ... jingle all the way ...
Oh, what fun it is to push this stupid ffff …’
‘It’s ANOTHER delivery!’ My son stops crying and shouts excitedly.
I take a deep breath, the fifth box to arrive today.
‘Mummy? Why are you buying so many boxes? Can I play with this one?’
‘No sweetheart, this one is full of erm … vegetables?’ He looks at me suspiciously and follows his little sister into the house, to inform her she is getting vegetables for Christmas, she looks understandably disappointed.
I step over the package to get into the hallway ‘Don’t panic’ I tell myself, it’s Christmas next week. I had to get on with it!'
I reach into my coat pocket, take out another chocolate coin and sit down by the front door, scanning the street for more delivery vans. I call my Sister on my mobile.
She picks up ‘Hello?’ The line is a bit crackly ‘Ellie? Where are you?’
‘I’m sitting on the floor of The Entertainer’ she says matter of factly as if this is a totally normal activity on a Thursday afternoon.
‘Err ok, any particular reason?
‘I can’t cope. I’m on the floor of the remote control car section’ she sighs.
‘Right’ I say trying not to laugh as I fear this might push me over the edge into hysteria.
‘I panic bought Christmas Ellie’.
‘Oh god ...I’ll have to call you back Lydia, someone who works here is kneeling beside me trying to help me with my indecision, he’s waiting! …. Click’
I eat several more Chocolate coins whilst I wait for her to call me back.
I answer my phone ‘Ellie? Can you hear me?’ KIDS CAN YOU PLEASE STOP JUMPING ON THE SOFA!’
‘Lydia? Are you there? I can’t really talk I’ve just left the bloody shop with a million bags cutting off the circulation in my hands, and I need to lie down in a dark room...’
'Yes, I’m here! I’m just trying to ... WILL YOU BOTH JUST CALM DOWN! DON’T MAKE ME COUNT TO THREE … So yesterday the cashier woman in ‘Boots’ asked me if I was all prepared for Christmas… ONE …to which I nervously laughed ‘No! I haven’t actually bought any presents yet.’…TWO… She just looked at me, then at the Children in the buggy and said…THREE… “you had better get on with it before they sell out of everything”
‘THAT’S IT! CHRISTMAS IS CANCELLED!’
‘Again Mummy?’ My daughter asks innocently.
‘Sorry! Where was I? Oh yes, so I panicked and I think I have broken Amazon. Ellie? ELLIIIE!!? Stop laughing at me! This is serious. According to Kirstie Allsopp I should be crocheting around the cord of my Christmas tree lights, and completing the roof of my gingerbread house NOT sitting on the floor of my hallway, having a meltdown because ... oh god I think I see another delivery van!
‘Crocheting around the what? …'
‘Exactly!! ...Hang on Ellie’
‘I’ll call you back…click’
‘Yes darling?’ I say to my Lil man who is wearing a reindeer onesie from last year, that is so tight he can barely move his arms.
‘Can you tell Santa that I really don’t want the Play Mobil Fire station anymore. I want a paw patrol lookout’
‘Are you serious?!’ I say through gritted teeth.
‘And a remote controlled car.’ He continues
‘Just a second Daddy is calling’
‘Hi, how’s it going?'
‘Well I’m a little bit stressed actually.’ I say this in an over-breezy fashion that implies I’m somewhat unhinged.
‘Why?’ he asks nervously.
‘Your daughter was sick all over me this morning’
‘That’s not good.’
‘The house looks as if it’s been burgled.’
‘The children wont stop arguing! Wait till they are old enough to play together .. they said! It will get so much easier ..they said! Oh and I ordered a lot of presents on Amazon last night and I’m not really sure who to give what. Oh and the stocking presents are uneven.’
‘Yes! One of them has 12 and the other has 15' I’m aware that my voice is sounding increasingly hysterical but I’m on a roll.
‘Listen Lydia just relax it will all get sorted. I have to go now; I’ve got another call!’
So I have to buy stocking fillers for my children, presents for 4 brothers, 1 Sister, a Sister -in -law, Dad, Step-Mum, Mum, Aunties, Dad, Uncles, Grandmother, in-laws, main presents for kids, Father Christmas presents, all the selection boxes for friend’s kids (Which I keep eating… due to stress of course) and my neighbor’s bottles of wine ALL with my little cherubs in tow and my DARLING husband has to buy presents for whom?
‘Before you go can I just ask? Who do YOU need to buy for?’
‘Just you my darling!’
I mumble something about Kirstie Allsopp not having to put up with this shit and hang up.
My phone rings again, it’s a friend of mine, my children are engrossed in Cbeebies so I take this opportunity to answer.
‘Hi Lydia, sorry I didn’t call you back yesterday but I was wrapping Christmas presents, I didn’t realize how many I had bought as I started buying them in September! It took me so long I nearly burnt my Christmas tree peanut butter blossoms …’
‘Lydia? Are you still there?