I still believe in the miracle of Mother Christmas says allison pearson
“I still believe in the miracle of Mother Christmas” OUR BRILLIANT COLUMNIST RAISES A GLASS TO CHRISTMAS’ UNSUNG HEROINES
Two out of five women spend 40+ hours preparing for Christmas – men spend just five hours
Dear Mother Christmas, Sorry, I appreciate that you’re really busy right now, what with several billion presents to wrap and those pesky elves constantly nicking the Sellotape. I just wanted to send a message of support from one woman to another. Every year, I imagine how you must roll your eyes when children are queuing up to meet Father Christmas. It’s Father Christmas to whom all those longing letters are addressed. Father Christmas who they leave out a sherry and mince pie for, plus a carrot for Rudolph. Who do they think mucks out the reindeer, eh? Who buys wrapping paper the length of the Nile and matches the right gift to the right child? It’s not your old man, snoring in the chair in his red Babygro, is it?
Father Christmas gets all the credit and that can’t be easy for you, Mother Christmas. I wonder if, like some of us human females, you get a bit fed up of being taken for granted? I know full well that it’s you who opens all those letters to Santa, isn’t it? You read them, make the list, track down the perfect gift in the thronging high street. Or you shop online late at night when the kids are asleep and Santa has passed out after his fifth Snowball in front of Match of the Day.
A survey by Galaxy found that mums spend the equivalent of a whole week at work getting ready for Christmas. Two out of five mothers devoted more than 40 hours to planning and preparing for their family celebrations. Guess how much time their male partner spent? Five hours. Yup, five measly hours. And those hours are bound to be on Christmas Eve when Himself stirs from that great male coma of seasonal oblivion and asks, “Where do we keep the Sellotape?” or “Have we got any more wrapping paper?” or – always a favourite, this – “What have we got for my sister?”
Notice the strategic use of the marital “we” there, Mother Christmas, which always means you. And me. You have to get presents for your side of the family and you get presents for his side of the family and for his godchild, whose name, even gender, he can be a bit vague about. Then you must smile sweetly as he receives their gratitude for parcels whose contents are a complete mystery to him. “Oh, John, you shouldn’t have.” (Don’t worry, he didn’t.)
Despite them working so hard on all the preparations, the poll found that one in seven women didn’t feel their efforts over the Christmas period were appreciated. Really? Frankly, I’m amazed that six in seven women did feel appreciated. Who are these lucky creatures?
When Olivia, my friend’s daughter, was eight years old, she said to her mum, “I know Father Christmas is real because mummies couldn’t do all the stuff Father Christmas has to do, could they?” My friend smiled ruefully and agreed that Christmas was, indeed, too much work for one mummy. That doesn’t stop most women I know straining every sinew to bear that load; we start thinking about it in September, and the worry isn’t really over until everyone has had their dinner and is crashed out in front of Her Majesty.
Who else but Mother Christmas would spend hours wrapping all those stocking fillers? Come to think of it, has Santa ever wrapped a present? I seriously doubt it.
My kids are older now, but I still do stockings for them late on 24 December. Seriously, why do we women go to all this trouble? It’s because Christmas, despite the commercial hype that kicks in earlier every year, is all about care being handed down from generation to generation. We make memories for our children, giving them joy that they can store up and live off their whole lives.
You see, tradition means something. We do it in remembrance of grandmothers and mothers who got up early to get the turkey in, who made crosses in the sprouts and soaked the sponge fingers in sherry, who took the trouble for us. Long after we are gone, our daughters will make the lists and wrap the presents and make the trifle or cheese straws that mum used to make and buy the cranberries that no one knows what to do with (but
Delia says you need them, and you don’t disobey Delia!). Because, in this way, love never dies.
I stopped believing in Father Christmas long ago, but I still believe in you, Mother Christmas. Forget the glass of sherry for Santa, you deserve a whole bottle of Baileys and a week in St Lucia. You’re amazing, you really are.
Thank you, mothers everywhere, for the brilliant work you do every single year, and for all the happiness that it brings. Lots of love,
PS: The roast potatoes need to go in in 15 minutes.