Do you sometimes find yourself a little narky this festive time of year? Hard to believe, but I know I can get a tad tetchy. I’m not talking the usual stresses here, like the pine needles filling up your Hoover bag, or trying to locate the end of the Sellotape. Years of experience and many-a wrapping rage prepare us for that shit. I’m referring to the less obvious stuff that year-after-year, since having kids, you are never fully braced for.
Well, this Christmas will be different. Thanks to me. And booze. Read on to get my top tipples (I know, I’m a wordplay genius), for seven Christmas pissers likely to drive you to drink…
1. Christmas bake sale
Chances are if you have a young kid at school, you come to dread opening their book bag for fear of what fresh hell will flutter out next. And Christmas is the pinnacle of the book-bag brigade. Bossy bits of paper regularly flap in your face to helpfully remind you: “Friday is Christmas jumper day!”; “Hand your nativity costumes in Thursday!”; and the dreaded, “Don’t forget tomorrow is the bake sale!” Oh, just fuck the fuck off. Sure, Nigella can whip up perfectly-proportioned, miniscule stollens from the contents of her Narnia-sized pantry. I, however, am far too busy trying not to lose my shit as my four-year-old pops jellied sweets like a junkie, and two-year-old attempts to scale the tree.
Top tipple: Pick up a fun and fruity wine, like a Rioja or Vinho Verde, from your local Co Op while buying a six-pack of Mr Kipling for the bollocky bake sale. Should take the edge nicely off the contents of that bastard bag…
2. The freezer
There’s been a lone fish finger shedding breadcrumbs all over your freezer drawers since January, and with it, several opened, unfinished bags of frozen veg also spewing their contents like slack-jawed drunks. And having engaged in a silent freezer stand-off with your partner, each of you blanking the half-packets of shit mounting like a frosty volcano, you then have to pack in the entire Christmas range from the frozen aisle of Tesco, too. Consequently, trying to “cook something simple for tea” during the month of December, usually ends with you slumped in a sweary mess, amid floor-strewn, frozen sweetcorn and one solitary, fucking fish finger.
Top tipple: Stick a bottle of schnapps or voddie in that packed freezer and take a nip every time you attempt to unwedge the Smiley Faces from underneath the massive bag of 150 mini sausages rolls (likely there until next Christmas).
3. The kids!
Pre-kids, you imagine all kinds of cute Christmas scenarios with children. As serene as Mary herself, you pat your belly, swollen with child, and tell it: “We’ll bake gingerbread and watch Judy Garland from under a big patchwork quilt, while Father chops wood outside the frosted window sporting an outfit handpicked by me from the Fat Face catalogue.” Post-kids, however, the reality is a little different. Only the top half of your tree is decorated because they can’t keep their pudgy mitts off it; Daddy is lugging plastic tat from Argos, not logs, in the pissing rain; and the entire family is sporting sick thanks to some godawful winter bug. And the truth is, that witch in The Wizard of Oz still scares everyone shitless, including you.
Top tipple: This sort of on-going shit requires hooch that is acceptable to slug continually in the name of the festivities. Opt for a Tio Peppe sherry or Baileys Original that help shrug-off accusations of alcoholism, when coupled with a comedy Christmas apron and cheeky: “It’s Christmas, innit!”
4. Other people’s kids
You can forgive your own kids going a little Christmas crackers, because, you know, they’re cute. But other people’s kids are really, really not cute. Nativities, Christmas parties, festive fêtes and whatever else – they’re all like your weekly soft-play visit to the power of twenty thousand. There’s always some kid repeatedly blowing a streamer into the faces of other children, another shouting the words to Silent Night like Keith Flint from The Prodigy, and one with a streaming cold trying to lick his nostrils who makes you feel slightly queasy.
Top tipple: You know what they say – if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! Get some Christmas spirit of your own – like a lovely Drambuie or Amaretto – and stick it in your nasty polystyrene cup of cold coffee. You’ll be belting out Christian rhyme like Katherine Jenkins on crack, in no time.
Of course social media is full of lies – and so it should be. Let’s be honest, the mundane realities of day-to-day living aren’t particularly photogenic, and most of us would much rather see a freshly-baked panettone, than a freshly-blitzed zit. Nevertheless, when your freshly-baked Chicken Dippers, unsurprisingly, still look shit despite a Valencia filter, it’s hard not to have a little life envy. Fibbing, filtering fuckers they may be, but they are good at it. The wily wankers.
Top tipple: Before scrolling through your Instagram feed, have to hand a drink with high-alcohol content such as a gin, or Special Brew perhaps. Then proceed to heckle everything lovely like a drunk at a bus stop. And when you wake with a raging hangover, maybe delete your Instagram account? You might need to shake off some very angry relatives and possibly, the Metropolitan Cyber Crime Unit.
6. The calendar
Every day in the run up to Christmas yet another fucking reminder on your phone seems to go off, badgering you about the trillion cards that need sending, or the distant relative you have to visit before Christmas in case the world ends December 25th. It’s exhausting. Perhaps though, like me, it’s not just your buzzing iPhone you’ve come to resent. Maybe it’s the groan from your other half, who greets every date-reminder from you like it’s brand new information – despite the seventeen times he was told previously and the massive calendar in kitchen that, a bit like that kid in The Sixth Sense, apparently only you can fucking see… *deep, cleansing breaths*
Top tipple: Get yourself a 25-strong crate of lager to make your own advent calendar with. Then lob the empties at your other half every time he utters a grumbly: “You never fucking told me…”
7. Christmas morning
True, being roused at 5am by hyper children bouncing like 1990s pill-heads on your bed isn’t the most pleasant of wake-up calls, but strictly speaking, this entry isn’t a Christmas pisser. This is the mawkish mum-blogger moment I’ve come to embrace (not just to keep the trolls from calling social services – honest). And well, it’s Christmas. There has to be schmaltz. It’s practically the Vicar of Dibley law. For me, nothing beats seeing a kid roly-poly with sheer jubilation because of some Poundland shit in their stocking, or the thick bit of chocolate behind window number twenty-five they finally get to inhale. They are simpletons sure, but they are adorable, happy, guileless, beautiful simpletons.
Top tipple: Fish out that bottle of champagne you were given as a new-baby present a few years ago (and were planning to re-gift for Aunty Barbara), and toast this Christmas morning moment. Your kids don’t give a shit about Brexit or Bake Off’s boot from the Beeb! Thanks to you and your tat-toting other half, life right now is exploding with uncontainable exhilaration. And it doesn’t get much lusher than that.
Have a pisser-free, booze-filled Christmas, all!
Love Zeena xxx
Hey! Did you know my blog now has its own, WEEKLY TV SERIES? You can catch WORD TO THE MOTHERS THE TV SHOW on Made in Bristol, Made in Leeds, Made in Cardiff, Made in Tyne in Wear, Made in Liverpool and Made in Birmingham. (Made TV broadcasts across Freeview channels 7&8, Sky 117 &134 and Virgin 159. If you are unable to get Made Television you can view it live, EVERY TUESDAY AT 7PM, here: www.madeinbristol.tv/live)
And if it’s decent booze recommendations you’re after, check out one4thetable.com, a fab blog by food and wine expert, plus Word to the Mothers co-host, Andy Clarke – a thoroughly lovely bloke always on hand with WINE. I think I love him…