I always think that I am quite an organised person, but actually I'm not. I still think back to that one golden Christmas when I had bought or made everyone I cared about beautiful, thoughtful gifts and had wrapped them by the end of October. If it ever did happen, I must have been single with an awful lot of time on my hands. This year, I'm a shambles. Not only had I not bought much, I hadn't thought about what to buy either.
So this morning, that moment of panic kicked in. I had bad thoughts about my children tumbling down the stairs on Christmas morning to flacid stockings with a tangerine and a bag of crisps at the bottom. Huw was packing his bags as I hadn't bought him his annual Chocolate Orange and Toblerone and I was feeling that I should have tried a little harder.
We set off to town to do some food shopping a bit later than planned, as I had spent an hour clearing the snow from around the car but in doing so, had compacted it into a sheet of ice. The High Street was lethal with great banks of snow at the side of the road where the snow plough had been through and piled it up against feeble little cars that now haven't a hope of getting out before the new year.
I sent Huw and the girls into a cafe and told them to eat toast whilst I ran around as it was lethal. On the way into the door a big blob of snow fell from a hanging basket and shot straight down the Maude's back, which made Charlotte's day. I said I'd be ten minutes as there'd bound to be a queue in the butchers and I set off at a pace. "QUICK!" I'd shout as I burst into a shop, "I'm panic buying!" They all understood and I had shop assistants running everywhere grabbing things and slinging them onto the counter.
“NO,” I would shout, “too expensive.” “NO! 32 inch waist? Have you seen him lately?” “NO! They have to both be the same colour, otherwise it’ll be carnage.”
Within fifteen minutes, I had done the lot and was running up the high street with bags clanking round my knees – and even better, hardly any of the presents were from the butchers this year. I have hidden them all in that special place that only mums go (inside the wardrobe, rather than piled on the chair beside it) and my hope is that when I go to wrap them all on Christmas eve, that I a) remember who I bought what for and b) am still relatively pleased that I chose it / was sold it.
Next year, it of course will all be different…