It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Well, in fairness, it has looked a lot like Christmas here since mid-November when the tree went up – a bit later than last Christmas. And it’s beginning to feel a lot like it too. Yep, I can practically feel my blood pressure rising at the thoughts of all that remains to be done.
Because, in spite of what they try to tell us, the simple memories made are often far from simple in their creation. Unless you’re a parent. The potential there to create simple but perfect Christmas moments for parents is real. As is the potential for the perfect parental Christmas gift. So, if you’re wondering what the parents in your life would like this Christmas, listen up. And I’ll tell you what we want, what we really, really want.
A Christmas miracle: otherwise known as the month of December off homework. We’ve children’s Christmas concerts to attend, turkeys to buy, houses to decorate, shopping to do, Elf on the shelfs to clean up after, end of year deadlines to meet, memories to create, cards to write, gifts to wrap, movies to watch, carols to sing, excitement to navigate, family politics to consider, gatherings to go to, dinners to plan, work parties to attend, expectations to manage and a partridge in a pear tree.
For the love of Michael Bublé, Mariah, all the angels and saints, and the birthday boy himself, please cut us a little slack and grant us a seasonal break from that most pointless exercise of the year. The cruel breaker of spirits, the ruiner of evenings – and to be honest, the kids absolutely hate it too. But please, please, won’t someone think of the parents?
Time with our children: No not for us. We already spend loads of time with them. So much time. We want you to spend some time with them. See what we have to deal with, sorry erm I mean see how fabulous they are, bless their little cotton unmatched socks. And what better way to show how much you love someone than to offer to babysit their offspring?
Restaurant vouchers, nights away or any present really that involves leaving the house are grand and all, but who’s going to take care of the children? The giver of the best gifts, that’s who.
Also, time with our children: Greetings teenagers and young adult children trying to work out what to get your parents. Honestly, we just want you to look up from your smartphones, come out of your rooms, fit us in around your friends/hectic social calendar/gaming/general chore avoidance and spend some quality time with us. Presence, not presents is the order of the day.
Basically, all we want for Christmas is you.
Sleep – and our weekends back: Hello youth sport, my old friend. You’ve come to disrupt all my weekends. Ah I remember the days when my children were babies and toddlers and I willed the time to come when weekend lie-ins were a thing once more. Oh how I laugh, (bitterly), at the memory of my naivety. Along came weekend football and gaa and rugby training and matches half way across the county and sometimes outside of it, putting parents’ sleep-deprived delirious hopes for rest, or basically any time to ourselves at weekends, to bed.
Coaches, we think you’re amazing, and we know our kids wouldn’t have their sports without you. (I’m married to one – I know how much you do) But know that, like you, parents are looking forward to the break this Christmas and we probably wouldn’t object if things finished up a week earlier.
For someone else to learn how to use the household appliances: They walk among us – the digital natives, the tech whizzes who can solve practically any gadget difficulty or online problem in the mere blink of an eye. And yet the complicated and complex operation of household appliances and in particular the lowly washing machine, remains a mystery to them. It stands there, in the kitchen, or utility room, forlorn and utterly overworked. But with only one master – whichever eejit started out as thus.
So, take the initiative and the appropriate amount of washing powder and lessen someone’s load this festive season. But please remember a washing machine is not just for Christmas.
Wine – because parenting is hard going and full on and exhausting. This wine connoisseur recommends a bottle of red or white.