Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

How To Survive the Holidays


My kids are on holiday, the one fondly known as “skiing week” in Europe, except that we blew our budget on a 40th birthday party and are saving for a trip to South Africa at Easter, so there will be no toiling down Alps for me this season. Here’s how I am surviving the week at home (and yes, it’s a list):

  • Daytime drinking: a little glass of Sekt at lunch-time goes a long way
  • The post-lunch DVD, during which Mama blogs or goes for a timely nap
  • Accepting all invitations – two children are always easier than one
  • Gratefully waving off husband and children as they head for the hills for one day’s skiing and sledging
  • Lying in bed every morning till 9am with a very fat book
  • Encouraging senior children to make breakfast for junior children
  • Praising them furiously so they do it every morning
  • Hanging out with friends – today we had a walk in the forest, looked at some wild pigs and bison, and then had a pizza (and the aforementioned Sekt)
  • Going to the movies at least once
  • Sharing the yoga mat with three eager yoginis
  • Having something fab to watch at night once everyone is in bed (the first series of Six Feet Under)
  • Reading the children a very fat book (we are working our way through the Narnia Chronicles, and are presently reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)
  • Using my cheap phone line to call friends and family around the world (if you haven’t been called yet, be on guard)
  • Letting slip the already low domestic standards
  • Putting junior child to bed and having a girls’ night with new Narnia DVD, and then unpicking the differences between the book and the movie (Novel into Film 101)
  • Admiring all creative endeavours (building a rocket, starting a newspaper, staging a museum exhibit) with fulsome praise and not caring about the mess
  • Giving up on personal projects (novel, fitness) for the week and relaxing into a pleasant blur of sloth

It’s working for me. Would it work for you?


Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

20 thoughts on “How To Survive the Holidays

  1. This survival guide would most definately work for me – especially the sekt!

  2. Sounds good. An occasional venture to the 2nd cup for coffee (me) and treats for kids, too. We’ll be having a similar week (minus sekt) in a couple of weeks.

  3. You’ve got it sussed there. Can’t see a flaw in the plan, so hope you are having a lovely, lovely time.

  4. Great survival guide. Seems like you know how to balance hanging with the children all week (at home) and managing your sanity!

  5. Mom in a million!

  6. Lovely! And if I weren’t in CA for a Gartner briefing I’d invite you down to Munich for some girls’ shopping. But let’s face it, sloth is better.

  7. LOL! Great list! My kids are up at 5 or 5 in the morning – so bang goes the lie-in! That’s when breakfast TV and the post -lunch DVD is essential for blogging and nappy. We’re off to see Bolt at the cinema tomorrow.. and have already painted the kitchen with glitter and paint, so have definitely plumbed new depths of household standards!

    Here’s to slothdom!

  8. … nappy!?? I meant napping…

  9. Viva sloth and sekt and all the other survival strategies. I can already feel the week blurring by. I loved the Narnia series (books) and have seen one of the movies which was also cool.

  10. Must admit, sharing the yoga mat hasn’t worked terribly well Always ends up with a large additional weight on my back or bouncing on my stomach…Supermum is a big fan of the daytime glass of something during the holidays, though.

  11. Did you read “Viegelchen will fliegen” by Joke van Leeuwen already with your kids? We just finished it and found it adorable.

    The invitation thing works most of the time for us — unless they need an entertainer, that sucks.

  12. I remember with absolute longing the days of doing “nothing” with my parents – my dad was a teacher so always had breaks with us, and we spent the days much as you describe here, and I miss them so much. I think your children will cherish this week more than any skiing week you could provide! Also, my dad claims Anne of Green Gables on dvd (then on tape) is a great babysitter for young girls…

  13. Sounds lovely, especially the late rising and reading and lack of housework 🙂

    I thought the first season of Six Feet Under was wonderful, though the little intro sequences were always a bit stressful for me. Narnia has been a favorite since I was 8 years old, but I did not like the first movie, and haven’t seen any more. Too much different from my inner pictures and from the “real” plot!

  14. I vote for no housework! My list would have at least one turn around the gardens, though. The daffodils are getting ready to pop and there was a miniature dutch iris this afternoon. Otherwise, that would work for me.

  15. Sounds lovely to me. I think I need to come pretend to be you for a while. Do you think your children would notice?

  16. should I be worried that this is my life, not just the holidays?

  17. Charlotte — although there was nothing here startling… i found your list quite amusing. What a lovely break… ours is coming up. I hope I too can aspire to the challenges of your list. Well done.

  18. OMG yes. If domestic standards in our house slipped any lower, there would be a Health & Safety outcry. We were skiing (probably over ski week, judging by the number if mini skiing kamikazes on the slopes) and the lovely chalet hosts wanted to make our beds and clean out bathrooms every morning, and we fell about laughing clutching our tummies. Everyday cleaning would make us positively uncomfortable, now that we’ve found our natural level of slovenliness.

  19. It’s March 19 now, and we’re in the middle of our ‘ski’ week, infamously called “march break’ over here. My celebration this week includes: having daughter sick with fever beginning Mon a.m, and continuing through the entire week; putting my back out Tues night picking up toy off floor for said daughter; we are both lying around the house now, and there is no housework standard since I can’t bend, stand, or walk. I think my house might be on the way to becoming the house no one else wants to be like! lol smallest child runs wild because I can’t bend to catch him. Eldest child is forced to babysit while I recover…. I hope your holidays were as blissful as they sound from over here, now!!! and that glass of wine would be really handy if it didn’t interfere with painkillers. I’m having chocolate instead.

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