If you don't have a Christmas Party to attend this year, because you are a stay at home parent or perhaps because your colleagues don't like you; you are in good company. Whilst other adults are sensibly spending the run-up to Christmas getting trollied on their work do and strutting their stuff to Mariah Carey without fear of reproach, I am at home. A lone Santa hat on the sofa, Love Actually on the television, mince pie crumbs on my dressing gown. Across town, turkey is gobbled, crackers are pulled, shots are poured and a very merry time is had by all.
Until the vomiting begins, alongside the realisation that they are no longer 22.
These small details aside however, I can't help but feel like I'm missing out.
Of course, I know I am lucky to be able to stay home with my baby, and the time I get to sit eating cake on playdates more than rivals one night a year of socialising for 12 months of actual labour. So, of course I'm not complaining. I'm just saying. There is a difference, subtle though it might be.
So in the absence of opportunity to lose both dignity and decorum at a festive shindig, I have had to find other ways of getting my Christmas kicks. I Ho Ho Hope you find my guide on how to party like a mother, while still being a mother, of use. The following seasonal celebrations are all easily attainable, with a very casual dress-code. Snowman socks and reindeer jumpers are optional.
Party With A Pal
Invite friend and her smalls over to play and catch up. Whilst children are fighting over toys, climbing on the furniture and trying to knock over the tree, play Christmas Carols in the kitchen and put the kettle on. Then remember you have a bottle of mulled wine from last year and crack that open instead.
Yes, you have become that parent.
But it's okay, "It's Christmas!" It's not like you do this all the time. Though actually, why don't you do this all the time? It feels so good! Scoff some shortbread to soften the hit and steal a sip of the kiddie's squash to cool your giveaway wine-cheeks and you're golden. No one need ever know.
Party At Playgroup
Yes, your children have a better social life than you, granted and accepted. But you might as well cash in on the action where you can by attending the playgroup Christmas party - all the kids are babbling about it. Here you can enjoy crayoning over nativity scenes, chasing after your high-on-sugar offspring, and if you are very lucky; glitter and flour messy play which will be a delight to clean off your clothes later. There should also be the opportunity to separate toddlers fighting over a toy digger - which everyone knows is the new downing shots at the bar - and should be embraced, along with having your ears tortured by the sound of several simultaneous screaming tantrums.
The above will leave you with twice the hangover for none of the merriment but it will all be worth it to sit, child on lap, and listen to the Christmas story, feeling warm and very content. In the absence of Slade on the dance floor, you can instead join in heartily to a loud rendition of Jingle Bells and get a bit overwhelmed and misty eyed. Damn you Christmas emotion and mulled wine aftermath!
Party On Your Own
So your partner is out on his Christmas Do, cramming 12 months of no social life into six hours. At home it's just you and the baby who is asleep... for the moment. You are alone, you are bored. It's Christmas damn it!
You can bring the party to you though, right? Turn on the Christmas tunes and pour a large Baileys - or Tesco's knock-off version - other imitation brands are available. Emotionally over-invest in Fairy tale of New York, as you do every year, and plan a night of wrapping presents as you warble along in front of the fire...
The gift wrapping idea loses momentum as you reach the end of your first drink; you'll definitely start after a top-up though. The warmth from the fire is making you drowsy and as you reach the bottom of your second glass, you realise you forgot to have dinner and probably shouldn't be trusted with a pair of scissors. Aren't there elves to do this stuff anyway? Next year you're buying everyone vouchers.
Raid the Christmas nuts and get sucked into Fred Claus- you know you are better than this but can't seem to help yourself. You know you should really call it a night, before you contemplate Home Alone 2.
Party With Your Bambino
So now you really are on countdown. The festive lights are aglow, the obligatory truss you baby up in an embarrassing outfit is on, and Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree is blaring out.
May I have this dance, oh little one? I may? Why thank you!
Spinning around together to a festive ditty, you realise these cute little giggles fill you up more than a turkey dinner and some free wine ever could. This really is the best way to spend the festive season - who needs a Christmas Do when you have own little party elf right by your side?
*raises hand* I would still quite like an actual party... I'm just saying.