Nearly there? Preparing for a large family Christmas - warning may contain unseasonable grumpiness.

If one more person chirps "nearly there" at me I swear I will actually punch them in the face. The same goes to the next person who asks if I am ready for Christmas yet. An actual punch. In the face.

Did I mention I am a mother of 7? *Points silently at banner above this blog post*. That means that the fun is multiplied all over this fecking festive period. More costumes and more teacher presents (although I cheat and just supply desperately exhausted staff with staffroom sweet treats to snarf in between making sheep costumes)
child in sheep costume
Grumpy sheep

You may have spotted me at the school play frantically trying to look in three different directions - thanks teachers for scattering my primary school aged offspring as far away as possible from each other on a large stage. My Christmas cookie offerings not good enough obviously.

You will spot me in church providing readers, acolytes and choristers and filling in when other people go sick/shy/senile. That reminds me I haven't written the script for our Christmas Eve crib service story yet - luckily I know the general theme of it quite well......

I have learned my lesson about excessive drinking on Christmas Eve. I may have had quite a lot of Champagne last year before heading to Midnight Mass. I was very relaxed. Some might have described me as incoherent and wobbling about like a newborn foal. I don't hold my drink very well.

 In our packed-to-the-rafters church I spotted the vicar not very subtly gesturing to me for help with distributing the elements for Communion (bread and wine) and had a slight panic as I realised I had forgotten what I was supposed to say when I tip the chalice. Cue eye rolls from my husband. I topped that by getting a highly inappropriate fit of the giggles when I realised that each time I tipped the Chalice I pursed my lips in a drinking motion - like how you open your mouth when spoon feeding a baby. Or is that just me?

I have enough wrapping paper, tape, brown paper labels and dried oranges (for smug mother homemade tags) to sink the proverbial battleship but no idea when I am actually going to have time to wrap anything.

And don't mention food - I foolishly agreed to shop for and cook Christmas Day lunch for 30 and make canap├ęs for a wedding on the 27th. And of course ALL of the delivery and click and collect slots within a forty mile radius have been snapped up. So that'll be me getting up at 1am for a hopefully quiet wander round the local superstore looking for giant featherless birds, army proportions of spuds and a small mountain of sprouts.

I suggest that unless you want to become intimately acquainted with my Christmas Eve companion, Stabby McSharpknife (thanks K!) then I would avoid my house on the 24th while I prep the veg. It'll be OK as long as I have relentlessly cheery Slade shouting "It's Christmas!"on repeat and a large glass of Baileys within reach.

So no food bought, not many presents wrapped. Don't even mention cards - my neighbours must think I am a right miserable cow because I never send any back. We do have decs up and I have finished buying pressies so that's something I suppose.

And at the end of the day does it all really matter? I know that at midnight as the 24th rolls into the 25th, standing (maybe swaying slightly) singing about love and joy in my church with the promise of fun and food with friends and family I will forget albeit momentarily all the stress.

The kids will love their presents even if they are still in the bags they were delivered in and anyway my Granny, sadly no longer with us, got away with wrapping her (re-gifted) presents in ancient ripped paper sans tape for years. We just thought it was endearingly eccentric. I still fondly remember the year when aged 11 I got extra large American tan tights from her.

So yes, I know we are nearly there and no, I'm not ready. But as always, it'll be alright on the night. In the meantime however if you catch sight of a wild-eyed frantic woman in the supermarket in the early hours desperately scrabbling for sprouts on the floor, run away.