Presents all bought and wrapped? Or, as folk round here have been asking for weeks now; are you all set for Christmas?
It's a saying that drives me crackers cos I'm invariably NOT ready for Christmas until about 1am on Christmas morning which is usually when I've finally got everything wrapped and can collapse into bed exhausted.
But this year I'm determined to do things differently so, to that end, here are my eight essentials dos and don'ts for a happy family Christmas 2015.
1. Don't leave the assembly of any toy until Christmas Eve. I write this from bitter experience. That brand new bike that you think will take two minutes to assemble once the kids are in bed on Christmas Eve? It won't. You'll discover you need a spanner which you do not own, there'll be a wheel missing, or the whole thing will simply be so perplexing that you'll need a Baileys hot chocolate or four just to get you through it. Learn from my mistake. Sort your assembly well in advance and then relax with that bottle of Baileys on Christmas Eve.
2. Do check what batteries are required for any toys you'll be handing over on Christmas morning, and if in doubt stock up on every possible type of battery. Do a mental assessment of everything your little ones are getting, check online which require batteries and then buy an enormous supply of every single one. There are few things more demoralising than spending Christmas Day with a child who got an awesome toy but without any batteries.
3. Don't forget your basics. When you're doing your 'big Christmas shop' don't get so carried away with planning the cheese board and stockpiling the mince pies that you forget the everyday essentials like bread, milk, washing up liquid and loo rolls.
4. Do buy a new game. Even if you're not a games family, there comes a moment on every single Christmas Day where the whole thing threatens to slide into disarray, with the grown-ups falling into a food coma and the kids becoming utterly overwhelmed and struck with cabin fever. Avoid this by pulling out the family game at that very moment. This year I'm keeping the Dobble card game on standby for just this moment.
5. Don't forget to watch Stick Man on the telly box. Enough said.
6. Do go easy when you're chucking away the wrapping paper. And never EVER put it all straight in the real bin. I well remember the year my grandparents bought my Mum a pair of diamond earrings which got accidentally thrown out with the piles of used wrapping paper. That afternoon we spent sifting through the contents of several rubbish bins - only for them to turn up later under the sofa - is not a Christmas I recall fondly. It's also not too late to nab yourself some Christmas pudding bin bags. They're cheaper in-store at Home Bargains but my local branch is out of stock.
7. Don't forget to take photos. I never take enough photos but in 2016 I'm determined to fix that - starting on Christmas Day. In particular there never seem to be any pics of me *with* the kids and if that's true for you too then make sure you foist your camera phone on someone and demand that they take lots of lovely pics of you WITH your kids while you're all togged up in your festive finery.
8. Do make space for some family fun. It's all too easy for Christmas Day to be a total stress-fest for mums, especially if you're the one hosting Christmas Day this year. Be sure to take a moment - ideally several throughout the day - to just enjoy Christmas Dat with your loved ones. Those moments are the stuff that childhood Christmas memories are made of, after all.