21/12/2017 13:43 GMT | Updated 21/12/2017 13:43 GMT

Christmas Presence Not Christmas Presents

Christmas presence, not Christmas presents! As you’re all aware, I’m a full time working mummy. I spend my days as a headteacher at a comprehensive secondary school. In the week before Christmas I have the privilege of addressing all 1400 students in their Christmas assemblies (it is genuinely a privilege although it might not sound that way!). This year I chose to talk about my favourite Christmas film, The Grinch, and how he learned that really valuable lesson: “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas means a little bit more”. Come on, you all remember those assemblies at school... the ones where the teacher starts off talking about something vaguely relevant and interesting and then makes some tenuous link to a moral or life lesson, that’s me in my Christmas assembly!!

Well, my lesson this year was more of a question; how can you focus on Christmas presence, not just presents? A few times recently, whilst on the drive home from nursery, I’ve realised that I’ve been guilty of being there, but not being present. We’ve almost been home and I’ve realised that I’ve hardly spoken to baby M. I’ve been too busy debriefing the day in my head. There in body, but not in mind. I’ve caught myself at home too, checking my emails on my phone, rather than playing on the rug with my girl in that precious time before bedtime. And that’s why my Christmas assembly had an impact on me this year (hopefully along with some students), because Christmas brings with it a real gift when you have a child. The sort you can’t get from John Lewis; the gift of time with your little love.

I’m fortunate enough to have all my weekends with my girl, and since November have been embracing the Christmas spirit! Since November, we have been squeezing in lots of wonderful activities with baby M and her friends. We’ve seen the big man himself four times (and thankfully, following a full month of carefully planned desensitisation through film, pictures and cuddly toy Santas, baby M hasn’t cried at him!), we’ve seen Nanny and Grandad a lot (we miss them loads, as noted in my previous blog!) and mostly we have played together on the rug. This gift has allowed me time to plan (of course through careful liaison with Santa and his elves) so that Madeleine will find a wonderful Christmas Eve bag on Sunday and will hopefully discover some wonderful gifts on Christmas morning.

The best thing is that it doesn’t even end there. Christmas presence lasts all through the holiday, up to new year and until that day we’re back into the daily routine on 8th January. I’ve enjoyed lots of types of Christmases in my life. The wonder filled childhood, the times spent with family, the Christmas holidays with nieces and nephews, the adult Christmases involving too much wine on Christmas Eve, the Christmas Mr MBAW and I cooked our first Christmas dinner. They’ve all been great and meant a lot, but it means something different once you have a child doesn’t it? Baby M isn’t really old enough to know what it’s all about yet, but if you asked me now, what Christmas means to me. I’d say it’s that priceless gift; the gift of time with my family. Christmas presence.... the best Christmas present of all! Merry Christmas to all the working mummies out there! Have a great time with your little ones. Enjoy every second!!

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