The Great Christmas Clean Up!

Just over four weeks to Christmas and I am beginning to panic! You see, I am one of life’s planners. I plan every day. It’s what I do for a living (I work for a whisky company and I manage the Despatch Planning Dept).   Monday we need to ensure the haulage is planned for Wednesday, Tuesday for Thursday etc. I need to look further out and review the despatches for the next week and the next month to ensure we have sufficient resources in place to get everything out the door.  So I am always working ahead and planning.  It’s in my blood and I’m a natural.  Some may say I am a bit OCD because I am the same in my private life. 

I very rarely do anything spontaneously.  My night outs are planned in advance and I always know what I am wearing weeks before the event.  I plan what I am wearing to work the night before and everything from the hairdryer to my makeup is laid out ready for me to start the day.  I plan my weekends, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and even have a plan for cleaning the house.  Which brings me on to the point of this blog.

I was brought up in an era where at certain points in the year, usually the changing of  the seasons, the house was given a good clean. I don’t just mean hoovering and dusting.  I mean kitchen cupboards are emptied and washed, fridges emptied and defrosted, curtains steam cleaned,  furniture pulled out so hoovering can be done and skirting boards washed, picture frames and light fittings dusted.  You get the general idea.  Anyway, Christmas is one of those times when all this work needs to be done and I always start about eight weeks from Christmas because “I have a plan of action”.  However, this year, things are not quite going according to plan.

I don’t really know why because my social life has all but died, so I can’t blame the fact that I have been out and not had the time.  I have been working over time but mainly by going in early in the mornings rather than working later at night, so I can’t blame work.  Therefore, I think I am going to have to put it down to laziness.  Plain and simple I just can’t be bothered!

However, the fact that I can’t be bothered is bothering me. I wish I was one of those people who just didn’t care. I once saw a caption in a frame that said “A clean house is a wasted life” and I sometimes think that it was written specifically for me.  I can’t seem to sit down and relax unless the housework is done.  Unfortunately, my family don’t feel the same and are quite happy to sit there watching tv whilst I run around tidying up and hoovering round about them.  In fact the standing joke in our house is that if you sit still for too long you get dusted!  

I am now so desparate about the Christmas cleaning I tried to plan a family clean up day and get the teenagers and hubby to help me.  I even threw in a carryout meal as incentive. Needless to say the screams of excitement at the prospect were deafening, not! Can’t say I’m truely surprised, who in their right mind would want to give up a night out with their friends to stay in and clean a house.

So, here I am, alone in my panic that I only have four weeks to get everything done.  As a last resort, I wondered about paying someone to come in and do it for me but I know I couldn’t cope with the humiliation of having people see the dust in my home, I would need to clean it before they arrive!

Hence, I am know devising a plan starting with the kitchen cupboards this weekend. Try as I mite I just can’t let my standards slip and will not be able to rest until the cleaning is done.  I might be able to bribe the teenagers with money to perhaps clean a few skirting boards and I will definitely be able to pull the guilt card with hubby and get him to do the cooker and oven.  The next few weeks will see me buzzing around the house duster, hoover, steam clearner or some other gadget in hand making sure that the traditional clean up is carried out to the highest of standards. The cooker and oven will be spotless, the fridge cleaned and bursting with food, cupboards, skirting boards, light fittings and picture frames all dust free, mattresses turned bed linen changed, toilets disinfected to an inch of their life, windows sparkling and not a thing out of place. 

As I sit here writing this I am struck with even more panic. I don’t actually have four weeks, I have even less time.  You see, all this work needs to be done prior to the Christmas tree going up 12 days before Christmas, that’s the rules. The tree and decorations can’t go up before the cleaning has been done. That means even less time to get everything in order!  Where’s the brown paper bag, deep breaths, deep breaths!

The ironic part about all this panic I inflict upon myself is that, by the time Christmas dinner is over and done with and the family have all left, the house will look like a bomb site.  The cooker will be covered in spills and splashes, the oven will need cleaned again, the cupboards will be in disarray because everyone will be helping and not putting things back where they belong, carpets will be covered in bits of dinner dropped from plates, someones bound to spill drink and I will have to start doing it all again before New Year. 

I mean you can’t possibly see in a New Year with an untidy house!  Can you??



The Madness Begins!



I know it’s only October and that bad word “Christmas” still seems a million miles away but, in reality, there are only nine more shopping Saturdays to go.  I say Saturdays because, as someone who works full time, I find that Saturday is the only day of the week I can really devote any time to shopping. 

So today I trotted into the City of Glasgow, more with heavy heart than enthusiasm. You see, as the years have gone on, I have found it more and more difficult to buy presents for the same people and continue to be original or unique.  For example, take my mum (not literally of course!) I have bought her purses, handbags, jumpers, perfumes, bubble baths, body lotions and all sorts of other cosmetics.  I’ve invested in necklaces, rings, bangles and watches. She’s had theatre tickets, Restaurant vouchers, helicopter rides and I’m sure I even sent her and my dad on holiday one year. This was before I had children you understand and actually had money!

So my dilemma is, what do you buy people for Christmas when you have been buying for them year after year after year? “Ask them what they want” I hear you say but then that takes the surprise element away and, at the end of the day, isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

I generally have a stratgey for Christmas presents in that I decide on a theme and everyone gets that theme.  So, for example, I might decide that the theme for the men is toiletries and they all get some variation on that. For the women it might be leather and that covers handbags, purses, gloves etc.  This approach has stood me in good stead across the years.  However, this year I am just struggling because I feel I have already covered all the themes previously.

So, after all that babbling, did I actually buy anything?  Well the answer is yes. I bought 2 gents scarfs, a set of nail varnish, one of those big fleecy comfort blankets, a soup cup and saucer which has room for your bread and a glass bottle which has sweets at the bottom to which you add vodka and in 1 – 2 hours you have vodka shots. Who are the recipients of all these delectable delights? The answer, I haven’t a bloody clue! I will put them away in a cupboard and, as in previous years, probably keep half of them for my self.  However, hopefully I will add to them in the coming weeks in the hope that I eventually have something for everyone. They will all get a surprise on Christmas morning.  Whether it is the surprise they want, who knows but it won’t be for the lack of trying. Wish me luck!