Christmas can be a time of great pressure for many parents, meaning that stress can take much of the enjoyment away. It’s important to stop and ask why this is. Is it possible that we’re causing some of it ourselves by not managing expectations – our own and others, including our child’s. Why not aim to simplify Christmas this year by taking time to reduce stress, expense and over-the-top traditions. This week ’10 Ways’ in our parenting tips series becomes ’12 Ways’ as we explore how you can plan to make Christmas less stressful and more fun.Start budgeting and planning everything early on.
- Encourage children to write their letter to Santa in early November.Encourage them to ask for one special gift and a surprise. It’s not helpful to children to allow them to think they can have everything they want. Remember they must share all of the gifts Santa has with other children.
- Once you know what your child wants, try to seek out the best price you can, as early as you can (to help Santa). Use shops, internet shopping and the many sites that list classified ads. Often new toys are sold on these sites at bargain prices.
- It’s essential to spend what you can afford. Do not put yourself into debt for Christmas. All parents know that children often don’t play with half of what they get or value the extra things they didn’t ask for.
- Do your shopping as early as you can before the shops get really busy. Take a morning off when the children are in school to get some important shopping done.
- Children remember more about what you do as a family at Christmas than the gifts they receive. In next week’s 10 Ways to, we’ll explore ideas on creating family traditions.
- Agree with family members to only buy gifts for children or not at all. Children will usually get more than enough from Santa. Maybe plan a day out instead with friends and family.
- Or you could suggest a Kris Kindle so that everyone gets a gift without the costs getting so high, or agree on getting birthday presents instead throughout the year. Most people struggle with the cost of Christmas, your family will probably be delighted to hear such suggestions.
- Encourage family, especially grand-parents, to ask you for ideas so your child gets a gift they want. This takes the pressure off Santa.
- We all buy too much food at Christmas. Plan Christmas dinner and a few treats. Often the left overs do perfectly well the next day (or days!). Be realistic. Remember that the shops re-open on the 26th; there’s no need to stock up for two weeks as we often try to.
- Try to enjoy the build up to Christmas. Children usually love this time of year. It’s about family and fun together, try to keep it that way. Shop as little as you can. Enjoy the atmosphere and the cosy evenings at home.
Next you might like to read 10 Ways to Achieve Successful Shared Parenting at Christmas.
This article is part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips, and is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.
LIVE Facebook Q&A with Geraldine on how to reduce stress over Christmas on Monday 1 December from 11am-12pm on One Family’s Facebook page. Join in and post your questions.
Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and advice on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.