Christmas is a lovely time of year especially if you have young children because as an adult it becomes magical again.
It’s not always a celebration everyone looks forward to, though, and it can be an anxious and stressful time for some. Sometimes it can be financial worries that take away the enjoyment of the festive season or when you’ve lost loved ones it can be hard to enjoy.
Something else the majority of people struggle with, myself included, is who to spend it with. Working out which family members you’re going to see and on what day can cause all sorts of problems!
For a start not everyone gets on in a family and there’s nothing worse than spending Christmas dinner trying not to have an argument with someone.
Then there’s the whole issue of having everyone round to yours, you’re on your feet all day cooking and washing up whilst everyone else enjoys the day.
My husband Chris loves cooking Christmas dinner and is never bothered about the work so this year he’s really struggling with the fact my brother is coming to us and doing all the cooking.
Adam wanted to give us a rest as we will have just had our second baby and he’s a fantastic cook so when he offered I jumped at the chance. This year there is just my brother and my nana Jean who are having Christmas with us and I can’t wait. They haven’t spent Christmas Day with us for years as neither of them are really festive.
Usually my brother takes my nana to McDonald’s for lunch! At the age of 85 she loves nothing more than a cheeseburger and a McFlurry, bless her.
Chris and I like our Christmas days hassle-free so we aren’t really into having lots of people and we never travel, we like to be in our own home.
Where we always struggle is with my in-laws who would happily spend Christmas with us every year. They never really take it well when we tell them that we aren’t having them but sometimes you just have to do what’s best for you.
They live two and half hours away so if they come for Christmas they stay with us until new year.
This Christmas they are having dinner at Chris’s sisters so I know they are not alone and then they will come and stay with us after the new year.
Previous years have featured all sorts of drama including one year when my mother-in-law didn’t buy my father-in-law a gift and he sulked all day. To be fair, once you hit your 70s you pretty much have everything you could want, so I was kind of on her side, but the atmosphere all day was terrible.
I like just being able to be me on Christmas Day, PJs on for as long as I like, sherry before lunch, and no need for perfection. Saying no to loved ones can be really difficult but I honestly believe it’s OK to put you and your immediate family first.
When I’ve talked about this on the radio in the past I’ve had people tell me that you don’t have people forever so you should just let them stay if they want. There is a truth in that too and I would never want to see anyone lonely at Christmas which can be another issue lots of people face at this time of year too.
I have a friend whose parents don’t get on with her in-laws and for years they all used to have Christmas dinner together which always resulted in one almighty row. We used to laugh about it all as she’d recall the stories about who said what or threw what in some cases but in the end she couldn’t cope with it any more.
Now she splits Christmas Day and Boxing Day between the two families so no one has to wear body armour!
Whatever your plans this festive season I hope you’re happy with them and they go to plan.
If it’s with lots of family then I hope it’s one big party and if it’s just a small, intimate affair enjoy the hassle-free side of it.
The most important thing is that you’re not lonely; everyone deserves to spend this time of year with someone special whoever that may be.
Fears when we lost Ava-Lilly
The scariest thing happened this week and I’m still getting over it.
We lost our daughter Ava-Lilly at an indoor Christmas fair for kids and those minutes she was gone were the longest minutes of my life. A friend and her daughter had met us there and the girls had started off on a bouncy castle, one with tunnels and two levels.
There were stewards on the castle and the children were only supposed to be able to enter one way and exit another. We were waiting at the exit but has time passed and neither of them appeared we all started to panic. The steward did two sweeps of the bouncy castle and there was no sign of Ava-Lilly or her friend. I can’t explain the horror that sweeps though you the minute you realise you’ve lost your child. I had never felt an anxiety like it. If you’re a parent and this has ever happened to you then you will understand exactly what I mean when I say you automatically think the worst – they’ve been snatched.
Suddenly a man said they’d been found and there was Ava-Lilly completely oblivious to the minutes of hell we had all just endured. I ran over to her and threw my arms around her. The girls had managed to get out of the bouncy castle and had been on two other bouncy castles along the row!
Ava-Lilly slept in our bed that night. It’s never comfortable sharing your bed with a four-year-old but we didn’t care, she was there, right next to us, thankfully, and that’s all that mattered.
Disappointed over reaction
Having been glued to I’m A Celebrity this year I am disappointed with the way social media’s been reacting about so-called bullying in the camp.
I don’t condone bullying but I felt I’ve been watching a different show to everyone else. Yes, Jamie Lomas, Dennis Wise and Amir Khan are very macho and competitive and I think it was obvious they didn’t hit it off with radio presenter Iain Lee. There are always people who don’t get on and don’t have anything in common and just because a person is competitive and speaks their mind doesn’t make them a bully.
When Dennis Wise told Iain Lee not to do a bush tucker trial because he’d failed at all the others and they needed food I was on his side. Twitter went into meltdown though and all of sudden Dennis was this bully who was wrong to speak his mind. I would have said exactly the same thing, being starving is not my idea of fun. I’m sure Iain Lee is a lovely guy and he came across very well but I really don’t think he was being bullied.