When you think about Christmas, how do you feel? Do you reminisce about the joyous times of your childhood, filled with presents and good cheer, but then remember that since becoming a parent, the responsibility sits with you?!
You’re not alone. Many parents feel stressed about Christmas, with the pressures of buying the right presents for your children and extended family, decorating the home and cooking THAT lunch.
We’re giving you our top tips on how to reduce the Christmas stress, and have a great time with your family.
We all know that self-care is important, and never more so when you’re caught up in the chaos of Christmas. Make sure that you carve out some time that’s just for you, and do something that you enjoy. We’re not talking about being by yourself when wrapping up presents, this is about treating yourself to a manicure, haircut or sitting in a coffee shop with a magazine.
The ‘Perfect’ Christmas?
Try not to get caught up in the marketing and commercialisation that will be everywhere in the build up to Christmas. The reality of what a ‘perfect’ Christmas looks like for your family may be very different to the films and TV programmes. Be honest with your family about what you want at Christmastime. You may need to make compromises at times, especially if you have an extended family. It’s a good idea to dedicate some time to spend with your own family or friends to help ease the mental burden.
Set Your Boundaries
This is relevant on both an emotional and financial level. When it comes to money, it can be very easy to overspend and regret it afterwards. Set yourself a realistic budget and break it down into smaller amounts for items such as food, decorations and presents. Allocate an amount for each person you need to buy a present for. Whilst it can be tempting to buy presents early on, such as in sales, but make sure you keep a record of these so that you keep track of your purchases!
There will also be a lot of demands on your time in the Christmas season, but don’t feel that you have to say yes to everything. Prioritise the requests into those that you will actually enjoy, and divert or decline the others.
It’s really important to be honest with your whole family, so that you don’t set unrealistic expectations. If your children are old enough, sit down with them to discuss Christmas and the level of presents they will be receiving. You don’t need to reveal the exact details, but if your budget won’t stretch to an X-Box or iPad then be upfront about it. This is a good chance to talk about the value of money and how others may be less fortunate. Make sure that you stay firm on your budget and don’t give in to pester power or puppy dog eyes!
Christmas is a busy time but it doesn’t have to be stressful. If you can stay relaxed and not take on too much, Christmas can actually be enjoyable and a time to look forward to.
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