Any working mum knows that the most wonderful time of the year is also the most exhausting.
A newspaper decided to prove this by printing a picture of the Duchess of Cambridge looking less than her sparkling, Reiss dress-wearing self this week.
The headline read, ‘Two young children, three official functions in a week AND Christmas shopping . . . no wonder she looks shattered.’
Personally, I think she looked pretty good, certainly compared with how some of us (aka me) appeared at the school gates by the end of term.
Because while having young children makes Christmas more magical than ever, it is also sucks any reserves of energy you might still have like a top of the range Dyson.
Gone are the days when you’d have a whole weekend to sleep off the excesses of an office party, with nothing more to tax your little self than wrapping a couple of presents those tasteful bows you once actually bothered with.
These days, anything more than three glasses of Prosecco and you know there’ll be hell to play the following day – usually in the form of small children jumping on your head at 6.30am.
Ironically though, your to do list at this time of year is enough to turn anyone to drink.
Just when you’ve sorted out costumes for nativity plays, attire for Christmas jumper day, cleared your diary to attend two Christingles, one carol concert and a parents’ association mulled wine evening, you’re suddenly WAY behind on the Christmas shopping.
You go to blow all your Tesco Clubcard vouchers on presents . . . and realise you’re behind the game on this too; the only thing left for the three year old is a subscription to BBC Good Food magazine.
Then there’s the dinner.
If by now you hadn’t already booked your online shopping slot months ago, you are about to enter the seventh circle of hell: namely, any supermarket in Christmas week, WITH YOUR KIDS IN TOW.
Months ago, you’d imagined Christmas dinner as a civilised affair, starting perhaps with those glazed nuts you saw on Saturday Kitchen, following with the resplendent turkey on Nigella - and you’d never say no to Jamie Oliver’s honeyed parsnips (ahem).
But with the kids now off school, if you manage to throw a few pre-packed roasties, a ready-glazed turkey and a bag of chestnuts in your trolley, in my book you deserve a medal.
It is of course all worth it to see the smiles on their faces on Christmas morning. Just make sure you have a long lie down at the first opportunity.