WEEKENDER: A father’s Christmas is always a busy one

South Wales Argus: File photo dated 28/11/13 of the Amazon fulfillment centre in Peterborough Cambridgeshire. Online retailers are expecting their busiest day of the year as pre-Christmas shoppers take part in Cyber Monday. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday Decemb File photo dated 28/11/13 of the Amazon fulfillment centre in Peterborough Cambridgeshire. Online retailers are expecting their busiest day of the year as pre-Christmas shoppers take part in Cyber Monday. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday Decemb

THIS week it is only right that, with Christmas fast approaching, I speak up on behalf of dads.

According to ‘research’ issued this week by BatteryStation.co.uk we fathers get away with doing the absolute minimum when it comes to Christmas-related jobs in the run-up to, and during, the festive season.

Said ‘research’, based on a survey of 2,000 parents, somehow concluded that mums are responsible for 24 Yuletide-related tasks, while dads carry out just five.

I can only surmise that the 2,000 parents surveyed were either having a laugh by providing deliberately inaccurate answers, or are by some statistical quirk, among the laziest or most deluded in the UK. Let me make this clear: Christmas and the run-up to Christmas are perhaps dads’ busiest time of the year.

We have to juggle the demands of work, if we are lucky enough to be in work, with the extra burden of buying presents, trees, ingredients for Christmas dinner.

We have to play a full role in preparing the home for Christmas, which in many households means cleaning from top to bottom. We must write cards, wrap presents, lug parcels to the Post Office for sending away, collect parcels from sorting offices.

We must rummage around in attics for decorations packed away the previous January and almost impossible to detect in the Stygian gloom of the roofspace.

We must, in our household, rise extra early on Christmas Day to take the dog for a walk, ahead of preparing and serving the Christmas dinner, a task that whether we like it or not has become central to the perceived success of the special day.

According to the aforementioned ‘research’ buying presents, writing cards, buying festive food and drink, decorating the tree, and other such preparations are almost exclusively mums’ preserve.

Rubbish. We dads love buying presents and writing cards. I suspect the real issue is timing. For it is indisputable that men are happier to leave things a little later than women.

For instance, on December 4, Lady Weekender mentioned the need to start writing Christmas cards. That is actually pretty late for her. She normally begins to get twitchy in late November.

On the other hand, I’m quite happy to leave it until next week, on the basis that as long as cards reach their destination before Christmas Day, that’s fine and, goodness, two weeks should be ample time for our admittedly busy postal service.

So, oftentimes, such jobs are done by mums by default. It’s not that dads won’t do it – it is just that by the time we get around to doing it, it has already been done.

In our house, Christmas tree decoration is a family thing, and though we tend to leave the buying and decoration of the tree until about 10 or 12 days before Christmas Day, we all get involved.

B but it is dad – me – who wobbles up the rickety stepladder, hoisting myself into the loft and balancing boxes of decorations on my head while I come back through the loft door onto the stepladder. These actions don’t read well, but though visuals would be better, my children have thankfully not been cruel enough to film said manoeuvres and post them on a social media site. But this tricky, dangerous, energy-sapping task must be done this way because we don’t have a proper loft ladder and I’m the only one with the sheer physical prowess to get into the loft.

I also take the lead on Christmas dinner, because I’ve always loved cooking, and cannot imagine Christmas Day without making lunch.

The worst festive season job though, has to be that last minute trip to the supermarket for unusual ingredients or items you don’t normally buy. And it usually falls to dads. Several Christmase years ago Lady Weekender, in a Christmas Eve strop, sent me packing to Homebase for storage boxes.

Unfortunately, everyone else chose to go to Harlech Retail Park in Newport late that morning, and it took me four hours to get out of the car park.

As I recall, that was the last time I read a newspaper cover to cover, waiting for the traffic chaos to resolve itself. Suffice to say, Lady Weekender was in a much more foul mood about my lengthy prolonged absence. But I had completed my vital task. I returned home with the storage boxes, and as a bonus, an in-depth knowledge of the fluctuations in Peruvian Gross Domestic Product, thanks to said newspaper’s exhaustive international business coverage.

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