ARE you all organised for Christmas? For a few weeks in December, this is the go-to conversation starter. We ask it of one another in a bid for reassurance, seeking comfort in the fact that everybody else is feeling as frazzled as we are.

It’s in poor taste to answer this question in the affirmative. We don’t want to hear your smug declaration that you finished all your Christmas shopping by October.

And we certainly don’t want to hear that you were savvy enough, organised enough – good enough – to have picked up everything you need for a fraction of the price during the Boxing Day sales nearly a whole year in advance.

Feeling calm at Christmas is for rich people and men who leave all the Christmas organising to their long-suffering partners. For the rest of us, it’s the season of endurance.

There are sporting events throughout the year where you get medals and endless praise for running through mud or throwing a javelin while balancing on a unicycle. Where are the “Well Done for Surviving Another Christmas” badges for all the stressed-out mums that keep this show on the road?

The National: Thompsons of Smithfields Christmas turkey

I am not naturally an organised person. I really have to work at it, which means writing reminders on pieces of paper and Blu Tacking them to heavy traffic areas of my house so I can’t miss them.

My daughter’s primary school is one of the main sources of my Christmas angst. There are so many festive events you are forced to participate in “as part of the school community”.

What if I don’t want to be part of the school community?

Aside from them getting a decent education, one of the main benefits of having a school-aged child is a solid six hours of peace and quiet each day. I’ve done the school thing. I completed all the homework and sat all the tests. Now my attendance is once again required at a place where the chairs are far too small for my bum.

The nativity should be enough, surely. We don’t need festive coffee mornings, winter fairs, Christmas art displays and the like. I was dragged along to one such event – on a Saturday, no less! – where I spent £2.50 on a square sausage roll that was a particularly violent shade of pink, in addition to approximately eleventy billion pounds on Christmas raffle tickets.

Then there’s the additional burden of random events that are scattered throughout the school week. You have to remember to pack a Christmas jumper one day, and party clothes for the disco the next.

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There are order forms to spend more money to see your child’s scribbled drawing of a Christmas tree on a tea towel. You have to remember to buy a present for the teacher and send back your child’s choices for Christmas lunch.

At this point, I’m bracing myself for the command from on high that this week is bring a penguin to school day, or dress as an incredibly complex Christmas object day.

The worst part? We have to pretend we enjoy it. Mums must not show any outward display of crabbitness at this most joyous of seasons. We must be glowing and serene and bustling with Mrs Claus energy. Not least in front of the other school mums.

Are you all organised for Christmas? Hmm, let’s see, Cathy. I left it too late to book an online delivery slot for the Big Shop, so now I’ve got more food than I can afford coming too far in advance of Christmas Day.

Given that Brexit has broken everything, the dates on the meat will undoubtedly be too short, which makes a last-minute dash to a dangerously overcrowded supermarket almost inevitable.

I have more things to do than there are hours in the day. I’m pretty sure I’ve double-booked a few obligatory pre-Christmas meet-ups. There is definitely at least one small child I have forgotten to buy a gift for.

The boiler is broken, again. We have no heating and no hot water and my landlord hasn’t yet informed me as to whether this situation is going to be rectified before Christmas Day.

The National: Elf on the shelf.

The puppy, for reasons known only to himself, decided to chew a hole in the wall in the kitchen. So at some point, before the landlord-commissioned boiler engineer does or does not come to fit a new boiler, I’ll have to somehow fix the damage.

The Elf on the Shelf is pushing me to the limits of emotional stability.

Because of rampant capitalism and the fact I am easily led, I also have a Christmas Eve box to fill with random tat before the big day.

So no, I’m not remotely organised. But being organised for Christmas is a myth, anyway. It’s a concept pushed by advertisers and social media influencers to encourage us to spend more and do more.

I’ll do some of it. Probably. But the only thing that is guaranteed is that I’ll be taking a nap on Boxing Day.