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

Woman & Home - - In This Issue... -

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,

Al­li­son

PS: The roast pota­toes need to go in in 15 min­utes.

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