The four simple principles of Christmas calm
Christmas can be the best of times and the worst of times.
The highs of tree decorating, mince pie making and glee filled faces on Christmas morning can be overshadowed by the mounting pressure of an endless to-do list.
With In-laws to cater for, nineteen amazon wish lists to browse and a wayward elf to get creative with, the modern Christmas isn’t for the faint hearted. Add some complicated family dynamics, a festive sprinkling of guilt and you’ve got yourself the recipe for the perfect seasonal meltdown.
I’m not sure what it is about Christmas that makes normally sensible people lose their minds (myself included).
I just need to remember.
It’s only one day.
And what my daughter really wants the most?
Relaxed, happy parents.
So, I’ve scoured the internet for the simplest and most effective strategies for maintaining your festive sanity and I’m more than happy to share.
1) Manage expectations
Both your own and other people’s.
It’s unrealistic to expect that I’ll have a perfectly tidy, beautifully decorated house, that I’ll suddenly know how to cook for a party of fifteen or that my daughter will behave like an angel the whole way through.
So, I’ll stop expecting it.
I’ll breathe and remember that my daughter doesn’t normally like to get her shoes on so today won’t be any different.
2) Say no
To the things you really don’t want to do.
It’s a no to things that actually don’t fit with having a three-year-old.
‘(No, person who doesn’t have children we can’t actually go out to a fancy restaurant, after the time when she would normally be in bed’)
Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean she’ll have learned to sit still for two hours or start preferring quinoa salad to beans on toast. #seepoint1managingexpectations.
3) Get outside!
This is a big one for us. I know that my little person doesn’t do well being cooped up indoors all day and honestly neither do I. Theres something about getting out that just seems to blow the cobwebs away.
Even on Christmas day.
We’ll make time to hit the playground or get out for a scoot around so she can burn off some excess energy.
4) Know your personal limits
Maybe you’re a card-carrying extrovert who’d love it if the party never stopped.
Personally, I’m a little higher on the introversion scale so I’ll need some time when it’s just the three of us. My husband is also notorious for getting grumpy when his sociable quota is full so I’m really doing everyone a favour.
Actually, pretty simple right?
No money spent, no complicated plan. Just a few shifts in your mind-set.
These tips don’t just apply to Christmas either. All four strategies are valid ways of honouring your personal needs all year round.
Because when you’re happy, your kids are happy.
And we could all use a little extra happiness for 2018.
Claire and Nneka