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Xmas time is so joyful, stress-free and magical. Everyone is full of goodwill. Every where you go there’s laughter and hilarity. People smile and wave when you pass them on the street. It is simply the happiest time of the year.

The last couple of weeks of school are also super cool. The kids are upbeat, the teachers jolly and us parents are twinkling with excitement at all of the added end-of-year organising, gift buying and planning jobs to do. And then there’s all the fun, vibrant, “blink and you’ll miss the fabulous performances” Xmas concerts.

Hooray for right now!

OK, I lie. This time of year is anything but what I described. I just want it to be holidays already so we can ditch the “shouty parent” role and instead transform into “anything goes” parent. Late nights, too much tv, no lunch boxes, all day pj wearing. The countdown is on.

In the meantime, there’s the Xmas concerts. Here’s a simple guide to surviving them.

1) Get a ticket. Yes, sounds simple enough, but it wasn’t for us. We were tardy and it sold out. Then we kicked up a fuss and got tickets.  Next year we will get in quickly so as not to endure the few days when we couldn’t look our children in the eye for fear they’d find out we didn’t have tickets.

2) Buy headphones. These are for your children, to pop into the iPod, who are insisting on practicing their Xmas concert routine repeatedly for the weeks leading up to the event. If I never hear ABC again I will be very grateful.

3) Bring tissues. If you’re anything like me you will spend the first couple of songs crying at how wonderful the children are. How they are trying their best and have a whole lifetime ahead of them. I do this even if I’m watching other people’s kids. And then when your own children awkwardly stumble around the stage – waterworks central. Seriously, all jokes aside – the kids and teachers do an amazing job to bring it all together. Now back to sarcasm.

4) Pack snacks. After the first half of the concert things start to go downhill. You start to think you are trapped in an auditorium with no way out. You start wondering if you will ever see the outside world again. You get the sweats and shuffle in your seat. You send manic text messages to the other parents who are also trapped. This is when you need a sugar boost or a drink which brings me to number 5.

5) Stock up on booze. Some schools have a bar or picnic style concert where you can bring a bottle of wine. Ours did not. Next year I will be purchasing one of the following devices and filling it with hard liquor.

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Genius – binocular hip flask

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I just need to brush my hair and drink a shit-load of gin

Seriously, the last couple of performances (although fabulous) felt like they were draining my soul of its life-force. I would’ve done anything for a swig of gin.

6) Be prepared. Now, when the concert is over, the real fun begins. You are left with way too tired, over excited, post performance let-down, hungry, attention-starved children. You must have something shiny or ice-cream related to tempt them back home before they have a public meltdown of epic proportions. If you need to you must resort to desperate measures.

Then, when it’s over crack open a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or tub of Maggie Beer’s burnt fig ice-cream and go for it. You deserved it.

Got any tips to add?

bigwords x