Christmas overwhelm: The most wonderful (and chaotic) time of the year

Although it’s only late November, there is a definite buzz of Christmas in the air. Trees are going up, twinkling in the dark on your way home from school (how did that happen?), Christmas Advertising has hit boiling point and the to-do lists in my head are starting to brim over.

We all LOVE christmas in our house, so this isn’t about turning our favourite time of the year into a big old Grinch fest, but I can’t help wondering how many other Mums are starting to have that panicky feeling rising up in them. That feeling of SO much to do, so little time.

Merry Christmas Greeting Photo

The scheduling nightmare

We have had letters and emails home from school and nursery, littered with a number of dates for the diary. Multiple dates for the same event, without confirmation of precisely when your child’s star performance will be (wearing home made sheep’s headdress, probably). The nursery performance, is OBVIOUSLY at the same time as the school performance, and needless to say, on my work day. Well, probably, given they aren’t confirmed yet – so no chance of pre-empting accommodating said events with a shift change, or planning annual leave for Dad Muddling through in advance.

Every person we know is negotiating dates – a christmas ‘get together’ requiring everyone’s hectic december schedules to align. Family meals, girls night outs, work do’s and annual traditions. It’s one of the few times of year our monthly calendar is stuck on the fridge so the families public relations can be organised with military precision. It’s an exercise of ‘information exorcism’ that stops them whirring around in my brain, often at three a.m. There is literally not a spare moment in December to throw caution to the wind and do a little festive spontaneity, but we don’t mind because it’s all epic, fun, sparkly stuff, right?!

Christmas shopping

With the best will in the world to start shopping early, that just hasn’t happened. Therefore every vacant moment of thought is gazumped by racking brains on what to get uncles and brother in laws, husbands, and worst still, your own kids who already seem to have everything.

Financially it can be a huge strain – it’s often a case of waiting for the cash to flow in before the shopping can commence, leaving things to the busiest times, or running the risk of missing delivery dates. It can leave you considering all sorts of creative ways to make the cash go further – selling any unused gifts from last year on eBay, taking your chances on an online casino, or even (as if, right?) rolling up your sleeves and getting a job in a grotto...

The pressure is on to think of a thoughtful gift for that friend or relative, within budget, and that they’ll love. All 73 of them. Suddenly buying that round at the bar at the Christmas do last night doesn’t seem such a great idea. #TheProseccoMadeMeDoIt.

Everything else

And then there’s everything else – the food shop, the budgeting, the Christmas shoeboxes, the cake, visiting Santa, the PTA disco, the nativity costume, the Christmas cards, the elf on the shelf (if that’s your thing), the hangovers depleting the days you should be cracking on with all the other stuff, the wrapping up, the childcare pressures and the work, school, homework of normal life too.

And it’s not even the doing, it’s the pressure to get everything just right – to give your family the perfect Christmas you have been bombarded with on the TV ads, the movies, and of course, your own childhood memories. Preserving the traditions you hold so dear, whilst simultaneously adapting to the needs of your growing family, and adapting all the time.

It’s also a time of year when sadness is heightened – a first Christmas after a loss, or without a loved one is the hardest, and even though you’ll paint on a smile and carry on, underneath the surface it’s just not Christmas as you know it. Everyone else seems to be carrying on as normal, while inside you’re still mending a broken heart.

Free stock photo of wood, light, office, winter

It’s no wonder so many people feel a sense of stress and anxiety in December, more so than any other time of year.

The christmas juggle is real for many families – let’s face it there is usually one person who takes on the role of getting all the shit done. And, for that person this time of year can be exhausting mentally, financially and physically. It’ll all come together, of course, and it’ll all be worth it on the big 2512 but boy is it a slog getting there.

Close-up of Hand Holding Cup

I now get it – the days of my childhood watching my Mum’s one last final push on Christmas eve to get everything just right – putting up the cards in the hallway, prepping the veg, blitzing the house like a madwoman, and finally, collapsing in a heap with a well deserved glass of Baileys.

Be kind to yourself this Christmas, take a deep breath, say no to some of those invitations, delegate some of your tasks, scrap the ones you don’t need to do, and definitely, DEFINITELY stock up on the Baileys.


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19 thoughts on “Christmas overwhelm: The most wonderful (and chaotic) time of the year

  1. Briony Reply

    The scheduling is what gets me. I only have about 12 free days in December but 20 or so people to see and more stuff to do! Definitely stock up on Bailey’s mmmmm #coolmumclub

  2. The Mummy Bubble Reply

    Yes to all of this! I’m feeling the Xmas overwhelm already, particularly as I’m cooking Xmas lunch for 9 people. I’m just going to drink my way through it, haha #coolmumclub

  3. mumversation Reply

    Its so true how overwelming it can get. The number one thing is to just take a breath and enjoy the moment, as before we know it another year is over. #coolmumclub

  4. RainbowsR2Beautiful (@rainbowsaretoo) Reply

    So easy to very quickly feel like it’s all out of control. I kinda go with if everyone else is OK then I feel OK thing. Maybe not the best plan but seems to be the one that works (ish).

  5. beautybabyandme Reply

    Its the shopping that pains me and I am so glad online shopping exists! People become ruthless with Christmas shopping. It is a chaotic time of year but I love that feeling on Christmas day when it all falls into place xx #coolmumclub

  6. Donna (@bobsysmum) Reply

    I feel like i haven’t done enough and i’m really behind. But, really I don’t need to have done anything yet!! #coolmumclud

  7. motherhoodtherealdeal Reply

    I haven’t even started on anything Christmas yet and I’m already feeling overwhelmed – eeeeeek! We all need to be kind to ourselves over at #coolmumclub that’s for sure! xxx

  8. Kate@TheMumConundrum Reply

    Every year I vow to get the shopping done early, and every year I wind up buying online in a blind panic, resulting in hours of wrapping surrounded by empty amazon prime boxes on Christmas eve (which totes interferes with prime Christmas drink jolliness IMHO.) This year I have made a token gesture of a few stocking fillers bought so far, but that’s it. Best stock up on Prosecco to get me through the pending wrap-a-thon! xxx

  9. mummy here and here Reply

    Fantastic tips, Christmas can be so overwhelming with all the stimuli. Trying to take time and just be calm, I always find really helpful X #coolmumclub

  10. Laura Dove Reply

    I totally feel all of this! I feel exhausted and Christmas hasn’t even begun! There is so much pressure on us Mums to get everything just right, all whilst dealing with the shopping and the parties and making nativity costumes and the zillion other jobs to get done. I need Baileys, daily… #coolmumclub

  11. oldhouseintheshires Reply

    I haven’t started any Christmas shopping yet and am panicking slightly! I think I’m going to be all the school stuff out the way first and then shop for my Christmas in my holidays. It’s all lovely though! I love this time of year ❤️ #coolmumclub

  12. Mrs Mummy Harris Reply

    we are very fortunate that christmas is never at ours and Ben isnt old enough for any christmas parties so all we need to do is make sure we’ve bought everything. We only have a few gifts left to get so we’re pretty on track right now ahha!

    1. Mrs Mummy Harris Reply

      ooops forgot #coolmumclub

  13. Kirsty @ You Know You're A Mum When... Reply

    It’s almost like we need to gift ourselves the gift of time and ask our families to just all take a step back! Christmas is such a whirlwind and combined with the end of year feeling, it’s often a recipe for disaster. Not wanting to sound like the Grinch obviously, but there is a lot of pressure on us Mums to make sure everyone is having a good time and everyone is look after. Lets just not forget ourselves and give ourselves a chance to turn off this festive period! #coolmumclub

  14. Hayley - I am River Reply

    Xmas is just not the same here in Africa, it’s not worse, just very different. It isn’t commercial at all and as shallow as it may be, I miss that side of it. I miss the chaos, the jam packed shops and present shopping, the stress of cooking dinner and making sure there’s enough for everyone. I just miss it every single year. For the first 2 years of Skylers life we came back to the Uk, but we didn’t have our own place and stayed with family and it still wasn’t the same. So now for the past 4 years we have travelled at Xmas, it’s nowhere near what I experienced growing up but I love the fact that we are making our own tradition. This year we are heading back to Dubai for 8 days and you can’t get more Xmassy than Dubai haha! Plus I don’t have the stress of arranging or being responsible for anything. ope you don’t let yourself get to stressed out, have a great time! #coolmumclub

  15. Lucy At Home Reply

    Haha yup. I have been feeling sooo stressed this Christmas – blogging work ramps up at excaty the same time as your real life ramps up and there are just not enough hours in the day. I’m looking forward to sinking down in the sofa with a Baileys once everything is sorted and just taking a deep, contented breath. Aaahhh! #coolmumclub

  16. Charlotte Stein Reply

    Im totally overwhelmed by all the commitments and to do lists right now! Us mum’s all deserve a great big blinking Christmas #COOLMUMCLUB

  17. The Queen of Collage Reply

    Striving for the perfect Christmas certainly can be overwhelming it’s true. #coolmumclub

  18. Alice | Letters to my Daughter Reply

    Ooh, I’ll join you on the Baileys! I find a lot of the stuff falls to me, but my family know that if I haven’t got time, it ain’t getting done. I’ll do my best but a ‘prefect Christmas’ to me doesn’t mean a spotless house and perfect tree, expertly aligned wrapping paper and hand crafted tags. It’s have fun and spending time together and dancing to Christmas songs in the living room and wearing your pjs more than you probably should. You’re right, we should all give ourselves a break at Christmas and just spend time enjoying it #coolmumclub

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