Honest Motherhood: Christmas with the Aliens

Most recent column for The Wokingham Paper: 
Christmas is fast approaching and I can safely say that I am in no way, shape or form ready for the occasion. 
Presents are yet to be purchased, cards far from written and advent calendars only partially opened on schedule. (I don’t like scheduled eating of chocolate, and have gotten into the habit of forgetting it two or three days in a row then scoffing them all in one go in a somewhat manic fashion when hunger and sweet cravings arise, this is working well for me). 
Thankfully, we do have one rather integral and absolutely necessary part of Christmas sorted. Our beautiful tree is currently stood, looking rather merry in our kitchen, lights glistening and needles dropping. (It might say non-drop on the tin, but it’s still a tree..) Of course the tree only exists in our home because my partner was so keen to get one, and adamant that it must be real. We were lucky enough to be gifted the tree by a good friend as a moving in present. I didn’t realise what a fun process choosing a tree was. First you agree on the height. I wanted something small and manageable, not too garish. My partner wanted as big as our kitchen ceiling would tolerate, something celebratory and bold. We compromised on a 6ft mountain of joy. Next in the choosing-a-tree-process, you go around and hold up a few, twirl them around for each other, comparing the shape, the distribution of branches, the symmetry. Wary of our usual indecisiveness, we opted for one rather quickly trying not to think too hard or seek out perfection. I’d never gone out and bought a tree before, so the whole experience was a little bit special.
The constant stream of Christmas music throughout the day helped. We have decided our guilty now-not-so-secret pleasure is Ariana Grande’s Christmas song. 
From one heartwarming experience to the next, last week came Maia’s school nativity play. 45 minutes of a much anticipated “Christmas with the Aliens”. All the usual nativity gang plus a few surprises. 
Maia played her teacher and delivered her lines both audibly and confidently. I was beyond proud, and yes a little emotional. Her costume consisted of “work attire”, some pretend glasses and a lanyard to complete the teacher look. She loved taking to the stage and I loved seeing her in the spotlight.
Most of you will not recall any aliens in the most widely recognised version of the nativity story. But as with all the best adaptations, there is always an intriguing twist. This one involved a cardboard spaceship (which I did think might serve as an adequate vehicle for the Bocks People), several aliens and some rather original and quirky songs. You can’t beat some well choreographed hand and arm movements in unison. I couldn’t stop beaming. 
The whole performance lit me up from start to finish. Seeing all these children come together, looking absolutely adorable in their costumes and doing their very best because someone special was watching. Knowing how much hard work would have gone into the production and how much love and pride there would have been in the room at the time, just made me feel all warm, grateful, and dare I say it, Christmassy. 

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