Christmas is next month but don’t panic just yet! Consider your expectations and what you like and dislike about Christmas – make a list if that helps. Review your list and think of creative solutions to resolve your three biggest concerns. One major issue for many families is whose turn it is to host Christmas. You and your children can feel like pawns in a complex manipulative game. When I got married, we told both sets of parents that we were never alternating for Christmas but each year we would decide where we would spent it. I immediately felt released. We had freedom to spend one Christmas in South Africa, host Christmas at our home, enjoy being guests in our parents’ homes and even go away to the Lake District with no grandparents at all. It is essential to create your own family memories and for your children to spend some Christmases in their own home. Christmas away was very special because preparations were completed long in advance and with no guests, our children received all our attention. You are an adult and even if it takes courage, tell your parents (or parents-in-law) how you intend to celebrate Christmas and don’t feel you have to submit to their wishes. Encourage them to come to your home and celebrate on your turf.
When planning Christmas don’t include too many activities, treats or guests. Keep a balance and build in family time and days off. If you are rushing young children from the school nativity to the pantomime to the village Christmas fair, there will be meltdown and a tired, overwrought child is not fun. Each activity which is lovely in itself removes the gleam from others if there are too many.
Lastly think about the meaning of Christmas. Even if you don’t have religious beliefs, it is a Christian festival and it is worth thinking about why we celebrate it, reflecting on the Christmas story and explaining it to your children.
This post is part of a Christmas theme of how I as a mum approach this season. As with anything, pick and choose the ideas that appeal to you – I don’t do all of them every year! However I have included all the activities, crafts and traditions that I have done over the past few years. Feel free to share your ideas as comments.