The Christmas Effect OR "How I go a bit more bonkers than normal at the time of year."

There is something about Christmas which messes with my head. The festive season (don't you hate that phrase?) turns me slightly mad(der) for a week or so before the lunacy fades away, or at least drops to my normal levels as we move into the darkness of January.

Take housework for instance. Normally I will happily wallow in my untidy house. Not quite "call Channel 4 and make a documentary" untidy but I will admit to being a bit of a hoarder.

Come Christmas however and my children will tell you (with a roll of their eyes) that I become a bit screechy about the situation demanding that they replace their new stuff BACK IN THE SACK the second they have finished with it.

And there's something about those tiny scraps of wrapping paper, usually with sticky tape attached glueing them to the carpet which enrages me. And don't start me on chocolate coin foils which my children discard in the unwrapping of the chocolate leaving small piles of glittering litter. But it's a family tradition to have them in stockings so it's an annual torment.

The kitchen. Oh dear you should see my kitchen. And we didn't even have Christmas lunch at home. But despite having two fridges and two freezers there is still food everywhere. Not that I bought a lot of it but understandably most people are reluctant to buy 7 children individual gifts so they opt for the "treat for the whole family" option.

Quality Street anyone? Or a biscuit? No, please do.

It's not that I am ungrateful - we do appreciate the treats and they all get eaten but on Boxing Day the tins and boxes are piled on my worktop. Which is a.untidy and b. a little too close to (my) hand as I stuff coffee creams into my mouth whilst tidying up or making yet another meal.

As an aside, one of my best Christmas presents was from a lovely friend who as well as bringing lovely wrapped gifts turned up to visit bearing home-made pulled pork and BBQ sauce, bread rolls, potatoes, homemade garlic butter and dough balls and paper plates to eat it all off. That is a good friend! I think she had heard the mounting hysteria in my voice as Christmas and its accompanying chores at church, school and home approached.

People. It's well documented that people generally try to be more tolerant, kind and friendly at this time of year. Which is a good thing but doesn't help the increasing pressure in my head as I tell myself I must not snap, answer back or argue - It's Christmas. This was a good thing for the person trying to goad me about my faith whilst enjoying my Christmas hospitality. They say a punch in the mouth often offends so I went for teeth-gritted pained smiles and turned the other cheek whilst desperate to point out the irony of dismissing my beliefs at Christ-mas. I want to type tw*t but my Granny reads my blog.....

Shopping.  I love a bargain and the thought of festive reductions gets me more excited than any porn. 50 Shades of Yellow is my turn on as I hunt for those yellow tickets indicating reduced in price food. My ultimate goal is to get a 20lb turkey for 20p. My poor son works in retail and when he lived locally I would remind him 20 times on Christmas Eve to pick up any bargains - especially if it was turkey shaped. Sadly (for me) he lives too far away now for me to expect him to walk here from work carrying a large cold turkey as he did one year.

I did send my second son out late on Christmas Eve ostensibly for a few bits I'd forgotten but with a secondary mission of hunting down last minute bargains. He came back empty handed on the bargain front- I think he lacks my passion for yellow "reduced" labels.

Anyway that's enough typing. I'm fairly sure that when I head back downstairs I will be greeted with more mess than when I went to bed. Maybe it's all those ruddy Elves from the shelves?  Released from their Advent duty of making me feel like an unfit mother because I can't be bothered to arrange a stuffed toy in a different position every night for my children's entertainment, they are taking their revenge my creeping in and setting off a bomb in my living room.

My first job will be to sneak the empty chocolate Advent calendars in the bin (why do the children want to keep them?) and then try and make enough space on the worktop to make breakfast. This might involve me eating a pathway....can you say Diabetic coma?