We all know what Christmas is supposed to be about: hugs, peace, presence and love! But sometimes, achieving this is just downright stressful.
Christmas is a joyous time of year but also a hectic one for frantic families. We spoke to mum and blogger, Kristen Toovey, and child development expert and mum Karen Young, who shared their best advice for staying on the sane side of the silly season.
1. You can’t do everything
At this time of year, the washing and ironing can build up and your exercise routine might be put on hold. It’s okay to let things drop off the ‘list’ to be more present and in the moment with the people you love. As time goes on, your kids are going to remember how they feel when you’re with them – not how many parties you went to or how clean the floors were.
2. Managing emotional obligations and blended families
Christmas is one day and the people who are important to you will understand if you love them the week before Christmas or the week after Christmas, and even in November or January. You don’t have to run around to four different houses for four different meals to make everything happen on the one day.
3. Present monsters
Blended families can mean multiple celebrations and multiple presents, but this can result in the kids turning into present monsters. Ask your relatives to restrain themselves and just give one gift, and buy siblings or cousins the same thing so they don’t squabble over each other’s gifts.
4. The spread – nutrition vs. sweets
Even though the table is packed with delicious food, kids will often make a beeline for the sweet stuff. Start the day right with a nutritious breakfast or a piece of fruit. Pack some wholemeal crackers in the car on the way to Christmas gatherings so that your child has had something healthy beforehand.
5. Dealing with tension and family feuds
Be aware of potential triggers and if possible, talk about issues and call a truce before the family get together. If certain family members are very judgmental, fill them in before the day, e.g. if your teenager has just decided to go vegetarian, tell your relatives and ask them not to comment or judge that choice.
6. Make time for your own family
Because Christmas Day can get so busy keep the morning for you and your family. One rule could be: no visitors before 10am. Have breakfast together, open some presents and go for a walk to the park.