I am Stop with the Bunny Claus Mum

When did Easter become such a big deal?

Now, before I come across as a Negative Nelly here, let me clarify that I LIKE Easter.

I like it for lots of reasons. Mainly the fact that it is accompanied by holidays, better weather and chocolate. It’s also a great excuse to enjoy Easter dinners, visit family and to meet up with friends.  And it is the time of year where it’s finally acceptable and not weird to wear yellow. What’s not to like?

As kids, Easter meant the end of the drudgery of lent. It meant a lot of services and masses, but it was all topped off by the family occasions and meals and wearing of the good clothes.  It meant cousins visiting and mostly, it meant CHOCOLATE.  The first taste of chocolate melting on your tongue after having had it banned for 40 days, was AMAZING!

Now, Easter is as big an event as Christmas for many.  Houses are decorated. Holidays are planned. New outfits are worn. People go all out. And if you do, good for you. But I have ONE tiny, ickle, niggly little issue that quite honestly is grinding my springtime gears.

The Easter Bunny.

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Why? Because my daughter asked me last week:

“When do we write our letters to The Easter Bunny?”

“Sorry…whodeewhatnow?”

“Why would you be writing a letter to the Easter Bunny?”

“So he can bring me toys?”

“The Easter Bunny doesn’t bring toys.”

“He does.  Japonica says that he is bringing her Shopkins and a scooter.”

What the actual?

Unless it is Japonica’s birthday on Easter Sunday, why the heck she would be getting big gifts like this is beyond me.

The Easter Bunny used to be a symbol.  A thing associated with Easter.  Like the Easter Egg. Now apparently, The Easter Bunny is like the Santa Claus of Springtime. The Easter Bunny, now leaves presents for some kids apparently…the little fecker.

Why?  Because somemum (or Dad), somewhere, decided to treat their little Darling to something nice, which is their prerogative, but in their wisdom, left it as a treat “from the Easter Bunny.”

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Now, if  parents decide to buy things for their kids, for their own reasons, with their own money, in their own home, is their OWN business. Give them what you want, but let them know that they are from YOU… Not a magic bunny.

When you start something that your little one is obviously going to share at school (because let’s face it, presents are CLASS regardless of who leaves or brings them!), you might be causing a problem for others.

You are adding pressure to parents who already have enough to be dealing with. There are parents who don’t think their kids need any more gifts or toys 3 months after Santa has been. There are parents who depend on the 3 for 2 sales to buy Easter Eggs for their kids.  There are parents who depend on family members to buy the eggs.  There are parents who are still paying off Christmas.

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Keep them apart please

Christmas is already difficult. It is already full of traditions that should you choose to follow, can be contentious and unfair.  We have already cultured our kids into expecting gifts on December 25th and we all know that the “How come Santa bought HIM a pony but only bought me a bike?” conversation will happen at some stage. But as a society, we have learned to deal with that. We are accustomed to it and we practice our excuses and explanations. And we have a full year to plan and save for it.

Why, oh WHY do we want to be doing it twice a year?

Stop it.

Make Easter whatever you want it to be. Go to mass.  Don’t.  Wear yellow. Don’t. Stay in your PJS. Don’t.  Go out for lunch. Don’t. Buy eggs. Don’t.  Paint eggs. Don’t.  Organize an egg hunt in your garden…or don’t.  Whatever you do, on your own home, good for you, but but for the love of St. Cadbury, don’t start some extortionate rumour mill among the kiddies that the fricken Easter Bunny will bring toys if they’re good. Leave that job to Santa Claus.  We don’t need a Vice-Santa.

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This is just plain creepy

Now, I probably should go buy some Easter eggs. And I might need a yellow dress. But will my little Bunny be writing a letter of request to the Easter Bunny?

Eh, no. No she won’t.

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I am Santa Experience at Rosnakill Mum

Before Christmas, we were invited to visit Santa at his magical wonderland at Rosnakill Community Centre in Donegal.  Having NO idea what to expect, we set off on an adventure one snowy, cold afternoon.

What we were going to, was possibly THE loveliest Santa Experience we’ve ever had.

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On arrival

The hall was decorated from the front hall. Trees and bunting and lights everywhere. Christmas music was playing and we were met at the door by lovely Elves.

 

We were led into Mrs Claus’s sitting room, where she called the roll.  I cannot tell you the SHOCK on Mini-Me’s face when their names were called out! Priceless.

Mrs Claus read them stories and then they were whisked off to ELF SCHOOL, where a cast of superbly talented young elfies reenacted some scenes from ELF, songs and all. Buddy even created his Candy Spaghetti…and ATE it! Yuck!  But the kids just LOVED it.  After “singing songs for all to hear” the kids were lead off through a magical tunnel to the next part of the journey.

 

I’ve never seen so many lights. Everything was covered and it truly was beautiful.

Off we went to the next room, where cookie decorating and colouring were set up.  Each family had their own personalise table, with more candy and sweeties than Buddy the Elf would have been able for.  The girls took to their tasks with gusto, and Mammy and Daddy helped too.

Then, the lovely Ladies went around with freshly cooked Pancakes! AND hot chocolate. The atmosphere in this room was electric as one by one, the elves called the different families in to meet Santa.

And then it was our turn.

Santa’s room was AMAZING! And Santa was soooooo lovely.  He took time to speak to the girls and laughed a bellylaugh when Mini-Me told him she was probably on BOTH lists because sometimes she forgot to be good.

We got more sweets, two gift bags and our photographs taken by an Elf. (I must give special mention to this little Elf.  Wise beyond her years and oh so eloquent and confident.  She was amazing!)

We returned to the room to collect our pictures and art. There were even calendars for them to colour in and take home, as well as little decorations.

The presents knocked me off my feet.  Personalised, handmade reindeer.  Each one with a little scarf that was hand-knit by a local Mammy.

ANd of course, Mammy got her photo taken with Santa too!

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Yes. I shall always end up on Santa’s knee 🙂

This is no ordinary village hall.  How could it be with the people who are running it?  The imagination, the attention to detail, the effort, the pride, the community spirit… The love that went into this project was infectious.    The group who ran it were working harder than any elves I’ve ever seen.  The atmosphere was incredible.

The visit lasted just under an hour, and we all left happy, fed and full of Christmas spirit. Then a few days afterwards, this photograph arrived in the post from Santa.

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Yes, she’s wearing wellies.

This experience books up quickly, and I see why.  We can’t wait to return next year.

Well done to all involved and thank you for having us.

The S-Mum

 

(Mammy and the family were invited guests of Santa, but all comments and reviews are honest and reflective of the experience we had.)

I am Scheme of Things Mum

Well it’s all done and dusted.

This year was pretty disastrous to be fair. At one point on Christmas Eve it felt like anything that could go wrong, was going to! 

And it did…

😐Our heating system broke a few days before Christmas and can’t be fixed until January. 

😐The Christmas tree lights broke on Christmas Eve.

😐My hoover broke. 

😐Princess has been sick ALL over Christmas.

We didn’t get all of the wee cousins together for even ONE photograph. She was having NONE of ANYTHING and has spent the past 4 days sitting ON Mammy. How I cooked dinner, feck knows.

She is literally only looking at what Santa left this morning…wee pet.

We’ve been to the doctors today and hopefully now she’ll be on the mend, but Christ having a poorly Babby in the house over Christmas just dampens it all, doesn’t it?

Lookit.

In the scheme of things, “whatever”.

And of course, in the scheme of things, I have NOTHING to complain about.

In the scheme of things, there are so many others who would kill for my little disasters. 

But when you’re in the midst of things, “the scheme of things” means Jack Shit.

And sometimes, if Mammy wants to roll her eyes to Heaven, stamp her foot and declare “fuck this for a bag of parsnips” or “Christmas spirit my arse”, then she shall. Because in MY scheme of things, things could have been better!  

And I Shouldn’t feel guilty for grumbling a bit. When it’s Mammy’s job to keep everyone else smiling, if she wants to feel a bit sorry for her sorry wee self when things break or go wrong, that’s allowed too. As usual however, after swearing a bit and cursing everything,  Mammy pulled up her big girl knickers and sucked it up.

In the scheme of things, wee buns.

We did have a lovely Christmas. 👨‍👩‍👧‍👧

Mini-me has had the time of her Wee life and isn’t that what really matters?

The lights got replaced at 10pm on Christmas Eve.

The Gillespie Mafia had 8 heaters on my doorstep within an hour of my Daddy sending the S.O.S to my aunts and Uncles. 

The hoover magically came to life again IN the shop when I took it in to complain, making me look all levels of psychobitch to the 4 snuggling Salesmen behind the counter on Christmas Eve.

And the Princess simply has a yucky old flu that will eventually pass,  so really, Mammy shouldn’t complain.

In the scheme of things, it was fab.  

I did get a few nice snaps, but Trust me, for each if the nice ones, there are 8 real-lifers. 

And everyone has them. So remember as you’re looking at all the picture perfect Instafeeds, behind all of those picture perfect moments, there might be a broken fridge, or a Puking baby, or broken heating, or a wobbly marriage, or a Screaming toddler, or a nasty illness, or a broken heart or an empty chair…

Real Life usually happens off camera,  (but when we DO capture it, it can be so funny that it reminds us that “in the scheme of things”, real life rocks! 👇👇👇)

How was your Christmas Mammies? Any clangers for me?

I am Sending Christmas Wishes Mum

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‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the land,

The magic was starting and all was in hand.

The trees were lit up and the turkeys were prepped,

The dog was quite cozy by the tree where he slept.

The sugar-filled children were bouncing and reeling,

The reindeer dust sprinkled, the cookies still cooling.

They hoped for and wished that the Big Man would bring

The gifts that they’d ask for, to make their hearts sing.

They stared at the skies, with eyes that were bright

As the stars they were searching for Santa’s sleigh lights.

The parents enjoyed the excitement and fun

But hoped they’d soon sleep.  There were jobs to be done.

Santa’s snacks were set out and the stories were read

As the children got snuggled and cozy in bed.

With a sigh of relief and ten checks that they’re sleeping

Mammy opened the nice secret treats she’d been keeping.

They finished their jobs and left everything right

For the Big Man in red who would visit tonight.

And they danced in the kitchen, and with Bublé they’d sing

Excited themselves, for what morning would bring.

For the joy and excitement, the gifts and the hugs

For the fact they’re together and truly know love,

For their family and friends, far away and close by,

For the innocence and magic that can’t money can’t buy,

For the dinner and chocolates and all of the food,

For the laughter and smiles, for the contented mood,

That comes with the sunrise on each Christmas Day,

And they counted their blessings as they ended their day.

So, tired but happy, Mammy turned off the light,

“Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!”

(Maria Rushe 2017)

Wishing you a magical Christmas

This Mammy wants to wish all of my wonderful readers a truly magical and wonderful Christmas.  I hope Santa is good to you all and that you have everything you dream of.

The S-Mum xx

 

 

I am Snapshot Through your Window Mum

The one thing that I love about the long, dark evenings of winter, might seem strange to some.

“You’re doing it again aren’t you?” Himself will say to me in the car as we drive along, if I’ve gone quiet beside him.

“Yup”.

I’ve been doing it since I was a little girl, sitting behind Mum and Dad in our seatbelt-free VW Golf as we drove through the winding Donegal roads at night.

Maybe it’s the writer in me, but I love looking through the windows of people’s homes.

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I don’t mean that I walk around playing “Peeping Tomette”.  NO, of course not.  But when you’re sitting in the passenger seat of a car and it’s dark or getting dark, and people have yet to close their curtains, it’s amazing the little glimpses you can get into the worlds of strangers.

I look. And for a split second, I see a tableaux; a freezeframe – a photograph if you like of the home and sometimes the people in it.  I imagine who they are; what they’re saying and what it’s like to be there, among them.  Who has just walked into the room to make the child jump up like that?  Where is he going? What are they talking about? My imagination creates full scenarios for the “characters” of these snapshots.

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Christmas is my favourite time to do this, and with Christmas trees in windows, it’s the perfect time to catch beautiful moments.  These are where the real Christmas-Card-worthy moments happen;  A Granny laughing by the fireplace.  An uncle arriving home.  Windows being cleaned.  A dog being scolded for jumping on a sofa.  A child being lifted up high.

Snapshots, if you will.

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Obviously, on Christmas Day, I don’t do this…  because I’m not in the car much.

And so, I thought I’d get glimpses into the homes of others in a different way.  I asked some of the top Parenting writers in the country what I would see if I happened to look through their windows over Christmas?

Each of them has kindly sent me a description of their very own perfect freezeframe; what they hope you’d see and what they hope to be doing while the world drives by next Monday.

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What would I see if I looked through YOUR window over Christmas?

 

Jen from –  Mama-tude loves Christmas Eve most.

“My favourite moment of Christmas is Christmas Eve morning when the children wake up. It’s the one morning of the year that I’m very grateful for their early morning rising tendencies. They always bounce into our room, fit to burst with excitement knowing that Santa is coming that night.

My mum always arrives super early that morning with a special Christmas chocolate cake. She has come to terms with her daughter’s lacking of domestic goddess skills so in the interest of her grandchildren’s palate, she does the baking! Then we turn on the laptop, log onto Norad Santa tracker and countdown the minutes until he leaves. And so begins their excited running commentary on his whereabouts for the duration of the day.”    

 

Ross from  –  The Stented Papa
If you were to take a peek through my window on Christmas morning, you’d see a busy, excited household. 
The funny thing is it depends on what time you’d be taking a peek! We’ve actually had to wake Nip #1 up for the last two Christmas mornings!! Even knowing Santa was coming, she was happy to sleep in! But I’ve a feeling this year will be a bit different. 
So once everyone is awake, it’s a busy & excited place. Wrapping paper everywhere, the nips playing with their new toys, showing & telling us all about them. Christmas tunes in the background, dressing gowns on, fresh coffee brewing. 
Then we get dressed & head over to Granny’s house for a big breakfast & more presents. Then around 1pm we head for Great Grandad Shay’s house with about 30 family (my in-law’s side) for some fun & yep, you’ve guessed it – more presents!!! 
Finally back to ours this year for Christmas dinner with all the usual trimming & the odd glass of vino – sure it is Christmas ya know!! Cheers to the perfect day!”

Kellie from –  My Little Babóg

“I would love to say all happy and merry but in reality you will probably see absolute carnage and one or both parents swigging from a bottle of Jack Daniels by midday. Christmas morning with a 1, 2, 3 and 7 year old is gonna be like any other day except with a skip full of new toys, wrapping paper and boxes upon boxes of selection boxes like the old days. It will be messy but hopefully full of fun and laughter.”
Jolene from –  One Yummy Mummy

“Daddy of the house running down the stairs in his pjs to check and see if santa came; He lets us know with an excited roar up if he has. 

Bursts of excitement from my 4 year old running down and crashing thru the living room door to see all the presents.  Then you’ll Catch a glimmpse of few tears  as I get caught up in the emotion of it all. Then to the kitchen were you,ll spy a few of my dance moves with a bucks fizz in hand, basting the turkey, with christmas FM in full swing.”

Becky from   –  Cuddle Fairy 

“Christmas morning if you looked through our window you would see all of the Christmas lights on. Three kids happily tearing off wrapping paper and parents assembling toys. We are all in our pajamas with sleepy heads and unwashed faces. It’s straight downstairs when the kids wake up. There’s nothing as magical as Christmas morning.”

 

Benny from Daddy Poppins  

“What would you see if you looked through out window on Christmas morning?  In a word, Mayhem. We’ve two hyperactive children at the best of times but the magic of Christmas will send them over the edge. Think Santa’s elves high on sherbet and candy canes (but in child form, obviously). There’ll be wrapping paper everywhere and our little terrors will be flitting from toy to toy, unsure which to settle on for their first proper play. Mammy and Daddy will be trying to coax them into posing for pictures with their new acquisitions but it will all be in vein. Nothing will hold those little magpies attention for long as they dart from one shiny new thing to the next. Mayhem, but the good kind.”

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There’s so much to see, if you only look closer…

And as for THIS Donegal Mammy?   The carpet shall be clattered and camouflaged by wrapping paper and toys. Michael Buble will be crooning from the tellybox.  Daddy shall be building stuff and Mammy shall be eating, starting the day with the obligatory Football Special and Terry’s chocolate orange!  The girls will be hyped up on life, excited to the brink by cousins and presents and Grandparents and fun.  Mammy and Daddy shall be screenfree, intent on not scolding for the day and stealing kisses every time we pass under mistletoe… And there still shall be tears and jobs to do and maybe the odd tantrum, and probably a few dirty nappies, but in the midst of it all, there shall be glitter and sparkle and love.  And even the jobs and nappies and tears shall be dealt with with extra smiles and magic; with that special, inexplicable feeling that comes only with Christmas Day.

 

Whatever is happening in your window frame this Christmas, I do hope it is wonderful and joyful and as stress free as possible.  I’d love you to share your snapshot in the comments.
Sending much love and Christmas wishes to all,

The S-Mum  xxxxxxx