This is a collaborative post
Whenever there is a family party or event, it can feel quite stressful and, I’ll be truthful, I always find Christmas a really hectic time of year. We have, the last three years, had real stresses about Christmas and it’s made things quite difficult. This year we are having Christmas at home, and there’s a couple of things we plan to do to cut down on the Christmas stresses.
Be clear on what you are doing
In past years it’s been difficult satisfying all areas of the family and we simply cannot do what we used to do when we didn’t have children. Driving up and down the M60 isn’t what I want to do, let alone three young children. This year we will be at home and we have invited people in for breakfast. Be really clear about what you are doing; you simply can’t satisfy everyone. Damian will work Christmas Eve and then we will have a meal together, put out the things for Santa and the reindeer then, once the children are sound asleep we will sort out the gifts. Christmas Day will, I hope, be fairly relaxed at home, and then Boxing Day we will probably head out for a walk and maybe see other family.
Plan when you will buy the Christmas food
This is quite key as you’ll be buying fresh food which you don’t want to buy too early! We have it planned for Damian to work at home on the Thursday or Friday before Christmas and I will head to the supermarket for 6 am – that way I can get everything I need without having to take the children with me, and, experience tells me that the supermarkets are at their quietest at that time of day. Plus the shelves are well stocked. If you’re having turkey then it makes sense to place your Christmas turkey order in plenty of time. Don’t assume that you will be able to get one the week before Christmas.
Embrace the chaos of Christmas with young children
This year, we are decorating both the living room and the dining room. Usually, it would just be the living room, but as we are eating dinner here, then the dining room ought to feel suitably festive too. The children are, as you can imagine, bouncing with excitement so we are going to go all out with the dining room decorations. We have a large wooden reindeer that we are going to decorate with fairy lights (and I’m looking to order some smaller ones too). I’m also going to look for a second, smaller tree but might leave this until Christmas Eve when the shops sell them off super cheap. Where once we might have had an artfully and tastefully decorated tree, this year it will look every inch like the tree in a house with three young children. We will embrace it and enjoy it.
Be clear who you are exchanging gifts with
Christmas is a really expensive time of year, and it pays to be clear who you are exchanging gifts with; we have stopped exchanging gifts with some adult members of the family and it’s reduced that worry and stress of looking for something that’s just right and within our budget.
And, finally, when the big day comes simply sit back and relax. I am really looking forward to Christmas Day this year, in a way I haven’t for the last three. The children are busy creating decorations and pictures to decorate the house with and are already counting down the number of sleeps to go!