Our Perfect Christmas: Sponsored By Instagram

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If anyone took a look at my Instagram pictures, they’d be forgiven for thinking we were all merrily cruising along, ready for all the festivities over this Christmas period.  In reality, my social media accounts present me like a duck; calm on the top while underneath it all, I’m paddling like mad to stay afloat.

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I do love this time of year. It’s the only time when I actually like welcoming visitors to my home. The house looks pretty, there’s plenty of food and drink and when the doorbell rings, I am actually likely to answer it rather than hide and pretend no one is home.

I love Christmas completely, when it arrives. These painful, stressful, hectic days beforehand? Yeah, I don’t love those quite as much.

In actual fact, right now, I am tearing out my hair.

Why? Because my daughter has been playing Christmas Carols on her flute for the last THREE HOURS. This has been a daily occurrence since December 18th. Not annoying at all.

I am currently vacuuming the entire house, all three floors of it, daily and I will be doing this right up to midnight on Christmas Eve. There will still be pine needles everywhere and glitter…sodding glitter!!!

My fridge is full to bursting, but no one is allowed to touch any of it, because it’s all “For Christmas!” which I yell at the top of my lungs every time I hear that fridge door open.

I have one son shaking each and every gift under the tree to try and guess what they are and one who wants me to make sugar paste penguins to decorate the Christmas Cake. I’m supposed to find room for 16 people in this house. Oh, and in the midst of it all… the school class bear has come to stay for the Holidays and we have to complete a journal of his time with our family. Who the hell has time for that?!

Things are far from perfect right now, which is not what my Instagram feed would have you believe AT ALL.

The fact is, and I know I am not the only one; I let my social media channels give rosy impression of my life as a working mom of three. I post witty status updates, gorgeously filtered photos, funny memes… while inwardly sobbing as I tell my youngest son yet again exactly how many hours it is until Santa arrives.

I post pretty pictures of our tree, neglecting to mention that by the time we had actually wrestled the ceiling scraping gargantuan beast into its pot, I was ready to file for divorce if my husband had mentioned it being lopsided one more time.

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I make mince pies with the kids and the damn class bear (that’s sweet mincemeat tarts, Americans, not savoury pies containing meat) and the pictures I post to Facebook make it look as though it was a serene afternoon activity. The reality is that my youngest unicorn (http://suburbanmisfitmom.com/how-to-parent-a-unicorn/) ate a large portion of the raw dough, rubbed flour in his hair “to make it white like Santa” and then took all his clothes off and climbed in the washing up water.

The cranberry sauce making was a fairly relaxing activity. I made sure to Instagram a picture of it in progress, of course, in case anyone thought I was one of those people who bought a jar of the stuff. It was also only relaxing because I was sloshed on cherry brandy. Hurrah.

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I’ve also made my Christmas Cake. Christmas Cake is a tradition that not all countries have, but here in the UK, most houses make (or buy) a rich fruitcake, which is then covered with marzipan and icing. I make the cake in October, and then feed it weekly with brandy. As lovely as it is, and it really is… we will still be eating this in February. Each year the decorations cause a lot of stress; I want my cake to look stunning so that when I post my picture on social media, everyone will think me some kind of domestic goddess. But my kids want to decorate it, and so I will let them (while I have another cherry brandy) and then I’ll subtly make repairs to their sugar paste models so it looks vaguely presentable. (Below is the finished result, which is pretty good considering they’re only 10 and 7!)

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I’m sure I should be more ashamed of my deceptive perfection on social media, but as I said, I know I’m not the only one. So, while the naked unicorn climbs the Christmas tree, my son asks me to play Star Wars with him and my daughter strikes up with Silent Night on the flute for the 400th time, I will snap forcibly jolly holiday photos, post them to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with appropriately cutesy hashtags and simultaneously try to find space for my multitude of relatives.

After all, it’s………

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