At some point at Christmas you will have to drive somewhere. There are certain recognisable stages to every day of travel.
Stage one: planning
‘We should probably get going by lunchtime/after breakfast/before bedtime’. The hours prior to departure must be spent not-quite-relaxing. Advise moving listlessly around ‘doing jobs’.
Stage two: packing
A clear division of labour is important: one of you may want to pack both children’s clothes, all the medicine and bathroom bits and snacks for the journey. Another of you may want to use all your teenage Tetris training to fit it in the boot.
Stage three: exit
A rousing chorus of ‘can you just get your shoes on?!’ accompanies all major exits from the house- a cliche all parents enjoy. A pound for every time you say one of the following;
‘Did you pack the kids’ coats?’
‘Did you put the alarm on?’
‘ Why is this Sat Nav so f***ing slow?!’
Stage four: journey
Spirits may start high with Disney soundtracks and liberal distribution of snacks. Things usually deteriorate about mile 25. Bickering starts. Injustices happen. Snacks run dry. Spirits dampen. The footwell of your seat is up to your knees in wrapper, bribes, and maps and your right bum cheek has gone to sleep.
Stage five: arrival
Relief. Then dread. You have to unpack the car. Unpacking is the absolute pits. Try and provoke as hissing disagreement by being in opposite camps- ‘Let’s have a cuppa and unpack once the kids are settled’ versus the ‘Let’s just get it done and get a wash on’. Always fun.
Unpacking Christmas is always fun and may provoke a need to ‘have a sort out’ on a major scale and you may make wild promises to streamline, organise and reject capitalism. It will be short lived. You will do this all again next year.