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There is nothing like Christmas to help you feel like a total failure as a mother.

I’m not sure if being a working mum makes it worse but at this time of year there seems to be a secret memo that gets passed around listing all the essential must haves and I’m not on the distribution list.

“You don’t have an Elf on your Shelf?”

“Haven’t you visited the PNP?” (That’s Portable North Pole apparently)

“Your house isn't festooned in homemade decorations and groaning under the weight of homemade treats?”

To all those questions, NO!

I’m the mum who has been completely blindsided by the nature of modern Christmas.

There are 12 days left until Christmas and I haven’t finished buying gifts, let alone wrapping them.

I will consider it an achievement if we get through Christmas Day without the sinking feeling that we've entirely forgotten to buy for Great Aunt Mildred that requires me to race into the kitchen, dig out a selection of dusty homemade chutneys, and wrap them in a not-too-crumbled piece of discarded paper.

Esme won’t care either way. She’s at the age where her eyes light up at the chance to tear a piece of paper into confetti and feed it to the dog.

Alfie will care, but not about the present he’s been banging on about for the last month, it’ll be the crappy little stocking filler that he steals from his sister that will be his prize treasure.

And I’ll be left pretending that I don’t care that my decorations were shop bought or that I didn't have the time or energy to make some freaky little elven fecker do freaky little elven things throughout December.

I will care though, despite the fact that our Christmas will be filled with family, and the nativity and all the amazing lessons that come with it, because not only am I a mum, but I’m a Catholic mum.

If there’s one thing us Catholic mums know that unless you've knitted your own tree and raised your own turkey from an egg you might as well just admit you’re a non believer.

This year, I have managed neither.

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