I am not cooking Christmas dinner. I am not at work. I do not give an enormous number of gifts. I do not have a long journey to make before Christmas. Yet despite all of these factors, I still sometimes feel stressed and harried by Christmas. I suppose it’s because Christmas acts as a deadline for any kind of normal, day-to-day activity; if you need to get something done by January, then in reality you have to get it done by mid-December. This requires an extra dose of organisation, as do all the activities and arrangements that go along with Christmas: presents, cards, extra social activities, etc etc. So it is perhaps inevitable that we all have a day when complete meltdown seems imminent – and my ‘sixth day of Christmas’ was that day.
On Thursday, the problem was less that I had several things to do and more that I was often trying to do a number of the tasks simultaneously. Despite pop-psychology claims that women are ‘wired’ for multi-tasking, there are moments when really concentration and focus on one thing at a time are needed. And yesterday, I failed to achieve this. I felt that I spent the whole day spinning plates, moving around from one to another to another, just trying to keep them up in the air.
Serendiptiously, I was spinning six plates: trying to sort stuff out for the car that I’m buying; trying to prepare a running order for a carol service on Sunday; trying to organise the material for the talking newspapers that I’m involved in; trying to do a few more bits for Christmas; trying to care for my niece for an hour; trying to have a shower – that’s how bad it got: having a shower became an item on my to-do list. But the day wasn’t totally bad. After I’d managed to succesfully spin all six plates all day, I sat down and re-created the fifth day of Christmas and munched on some Roses. Six, this time – but only to remain true to the song, of course.
On the sixth day of Christmas my own way was to be six plates a spinning, fives Ro-o-ses, four simple pleasures, three finished parcels, two children’s gifts and a morning of charity.