I was going to title this piece "The Mother Distracted Guide to Humbug-ery" and then I thought "best not".
Anyway, here's my helpful list of things you might want to add to your Christmas shopping list on the basis that I like to be fully prepared for all possible emergencies, medical, psychological and social.
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Most of these items are unremittingly dull. But nowhere near as dull as trying to find a corner shop open on Christmas day whilst the husband is left to cremate the turkey and the kids dismantle any item costing more than a tenner which needs batteries..... which leads me to....
1. Batteries. Best to buy in bulk over the internet if you're organised. If not, best join the queue in Argos for a pack big enough to power a space shuttle and spend 20 minutes watch the blinking TV screen as your order number takes an age to appear on the glamorous metal racking at the back of the stressed out line of assistants.
2. Indigestion remedy. Christmas is the only time of year when we are unnaturally possessed to consume our own body weight in dried fruit. It ain't pretty.
3. Plasters. Fabric. Waterproof. The sort that are so strong that pain is involved in removing them. All other plasters float off as soon as they get wet, particularly any featuring Winnie The Pooh / Hello Kitty etc.
4. Wire cutters or very strong scissors. Even Dynamo would struggle to get out of some of the packaging toys come in these days. You'll need the fabric plasters to wrap round your fingers after it has taken you an entire festive episode of Midsomer Murders to free Barbie and her range of microscopic accessories.
5. Tweezers. After Caitlin's "bead up the nose" incident, I'm taking no chances. Plus I can't remember the last time I actually scrutinized my eyebrows. And since we've got rid of the carpet and hubby has painted the floors, the risk of splinters in the foot (and even more annoyingly, shredded hosiery) is high. Less micro-pedi and more micro-shreddy.
6. Bin bags. Just remember that the ratio of packaging to gift for most of the stuff we buy these days is 85% packaging and 15% gift. However, failure to recycle correctly in this here shire may result in heavy tut-tutting from the neighbours and possibly a short prison sentence.
7. Fuel for the car. No really. If you're off to see Aunty Vi in the back of Abercwmtwch, you just know that there won't be a garage open this side of the Severn Bridge on Christmas day. Although come to think of it, that might actually be a good thing. You really don't need a pasty and a copy of What Car magazine either.
8. Enough cream. Without fail if I buy a small amount, everyone wants some and if I buy it in pints, everyone wants custard. I'm sure it's deliberate.
9. A gravy boat. What has happened to the nation's fleet of gravy boats? Are we all using Pyrex jugs or those strange jugs in the shape of a cow?
10. An emergency present. Tricky. I find boxes of Matchmakers or Ferrero Rocher chocolates kept for this purpose usually vanish. You'll just have to be strong or invest in a prettily wrapped gift card from somewhere like Marks & Spencer.
I'm sure you have your own list. Let me know. I bet there's loads of things I've forgotten!