The Christmas holidays are upon us. My daughter is now off school, and tomorrow afternoon we will be joined by my husband and stepson. My reaction to this realisation was to begin frantically searching the internet for ‘things to do over the Christmas holidays’. This gets more difficult every year. Now that the kids are 11 and 12, it takes more to amuse them than a craft session in town or a visit to Santa. Fearing an enormous anti-climax as the long-awaited Christmas holiday becomes boring by day 3, I panicked.
I booked an all-singing, all dancing pantomime, which features CGI apparently, REAL FLYING WITHOUT WIRES, and PEOPLE FROM THE X-FACTOR! Surely that will impress them, I thought? Unfortunately I failed to check whether the date tallied with my stepson’s visit. He’ll be back at his Mum’s house by the time of the show, and so is unlikely to be impressed. Budget now spent, I panicked a little more. I looked at nights away in castles and Victorian tours of dungeons. There was still room at the castle! I got out my credit card, imagined the children complaining that it was ‘boring’ and put it away again.
I found a solstice celebration in the New-Age centre of Manchester, complete with fair, Santa, carol singers and mulled wine. We can drag them along to that and stick them on some dodgems if they complain, I decided. In addition to this, I can offer a WALK UP TO THE TOP OF A HILL (my ears hurt just thinking about how much my daughter will bend them with her complaining about that one), and A TRIP TO THE SWIMMING POOL (they actually want to do this). There’s also the option of having friends round who will bring their kids, meaning they all get A DVD AND PIZZA (experience tells me they will eat the pizza, then go on the trampoline. Outside. In the dark. Again, not so bad. The trampoline works as a giant play-pen). As the kids are getting older, they have started to become motivated to control their weight. This is a bad thing in one respect, as obviously they shouldn’t be so self conscious at such a young age, but it’s also a good thing in that it outweighs their other motivation, which is shopping. I think I may be able to offer daily swimming sessions, after which they will be too tired to contemplate a marathon wander around the Arndale Centre.
I have learned that a week can be a REALLY REALLY LONG TIME when you are stuck inside because it’s too dark and rainy to do anything which doesn’t cost a gazillion pounds – like going abroad for instance – and you have already spent a gazillion pounds on presents. (Not to mention the other expenses of this year; coughweddingcough). Planning is definitely the key. Even just a couple of good days out can mean that this is looked back on as a fun holiday rather than the one which ended with different members of the family trying to kill one another
So, I’m off to continue searching the internet. I’m sure there is something very exciting (and free) going on just around the corner. Indoors…